The "strain" of buckling up leads to firefighter's injury suit

David Yates Jul. 24, 2007, 8:46am

1996 Dodge Ram

Firefighter Herman Barber says having to buckle up has done him more harm than good. He claims the "strain" of repeatedly putting on his seatbelt has caused him physical impairment, mental anguish and the loss of enjoyment of life.

Barber and his wife Sueleeka filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Daimler Chrysler Corp., Cerbus Capital Management and the city of Beaumont, alleging a seatbelt defect in the 1996 Dodge Ram that Barber was assigned to drive led to his injury.

Attorney Kip Lamb filed the suit on the Barbers behalf with the Jefferson County District Court on July 20.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, during Barber's employment with the city as a firefighter, he was assigned to drive a 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 V8 Magnum Pick-up Truck as part of his duties.

"As a result of Barber's frequent use of this vehicle and his use of the seat belt in the vehicle, he was injured by unknowingly and repeatedly straining to grip the seat belt and buckle each time he drove," the suit said. "The design and placement of the seatbelt was defective, which required the occupant to overreach, resulting in injury. Ultimately, this repeated act has caused damage to Barber's left shoulder."

The suit goes on to say Barber sustained debilitating injuries to his left shoulder and body and has been required to undergo significant medical treatment because of the truck's defect.

He and his wife are suing for past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, impairment, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. E179-695

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