A liability insurance company representing Coachmen Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $16 million to a van conversion crash victim, according to a spokeswoman for Edward Steinbrecher, the Encino, Calif.-based attorney who represented the crash victim.
Because Coachmen was insured, the settlement has no impact on Coachmen’s operations or financial position, according to Rich Allen, a Coachmen spokesman.
A jury in Los Angeles, on June 30, ordered Coachmen to pay $35 million to the crash victim, John Borgia, 25, of Erie, Pa. However, a settlement was reached on July 13 in which Coachmen’s insurer agreed to pay $16 million, according to Steinbrecher’s spokeswoman.
All other defendants, including Chrysler, manufacturer of the chassis converted by Coachmen, and the dealer who sold Borgia’s van conversion, had settled earlier, Steinbrecher’s spokeswoman said.
The court case resulted from an accident in 1994 that left Borgia brain damaged after the driver’s seat in his van pulled loose from the pedestal, which was made by Auranco, a former Coachmen subsidiary.
Coachmen sold Auranco during 1993 and Auranco stopped doing business during 1994, said Allen, the Coachmen spokesman.
Coachmen left the van conversion business earlier this year.
Steinbrecher, in published reports, said Borgia’s injuries were an outcome of the lack federal safety regulations covering the van conversion industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not regulate the van conversion industry until the early 1990s.