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Boeing and other settle soldiers defective product claims.

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday approved a $13.5 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Boeing Co. and three other companies by two soldiers who were hurt in a 2003 Army helicopter crash in Iraq, according to an Associated Press news report.

The product liability lawsuit claimed that a gear box on an AH-64 Apache Longbow failed during a maintenance flight in Tikrit, causing the chopper to plunge 800 feet.

The crash left Officer Juan Beltran, 34, of Los Angeles a quadriplegic. He also lost a finger and had severe head injuries. The crash also shattered the spine of Chief Warrant Officer Ron Carnes, 34, who now is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He can walk but his movement is restricted, according to the men’s attorney.

The settlement provides more than $11.2 million to Beltran and about $2.3 million to Carnes. The lawsuit claimed that the gearbox and its bearings were inadequately lubricated and that a device called an accelerometer that should have warned pilots of a problem was badly designed and had failed early.

The accelerometer was designed to be used for 4,000 hours of flight time but failed after 218 hours, Boyle said. The suit named Boeing, which built the Longbow, along with three companies that made the gearbox, bearings and the accelerometer.

Interestingly enough, the companies did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement, and the lawsuit will be dismissed at a later date, the plaintiffs’ attorney said. I am surprised at this statement by the plaintiffs’ attorneys. In thousands of settlements we have negotiated for our clients, never has a corporation ever admitted fault. It is always a condition of their agreeing to pay the damages that they do not have to admit fault.

This is an important award because it sends a message to military supply corporations that our military personnel have the right to safe products, have the right to sue if they are injured due to corporate negligence and can recover damages for injuries suffered due to defective products, even those used by the military in a war zone.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an accident caused by a defective product, the attorneys at Bisnar|Chase may be able to help you. Contact us for free, confidential consultation.

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