As Jury Deliberates, Parties Settle Suit Against Booster Seat Maker Over Crash That Paralyzed Child

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Mar 17, 2022 2:54:51 PM


Stock image. 

Decatur, GA— As jurors deliberated whether a car seat manufacturer was to blame for the catastrophic injuries a toddler suffered in a 2018 wreck, and after closing arguments in which attorneys for the child’s family suggested jurors should award well over $100 million, the parties settled the case last Friday. Terms of the agreement are confidential.  Trice v. Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., 18A70731. 

Brittany Trice was driving with her two children wearing shoulder-lap safety belts and seated in Dorel Juvenile Group's "Rise" child booster seats when she hit a pickup truck in Tucker, Georgia. Her son, who was 4-years old at the time, suffered spinal injuries that have left him with quadriplegia, require him to breathe with a ventilator, and rely on long-term care.  

Trice claims her son was properly wearing his three-point safety belt at the time of the crash, but that Dorel's booster seat allowed the child to slip out of the belt's restraint. She contends her son was within the weight range advertised on the seat’s box but that the company failed to properly warn her that he was too small to safely use the seat. 

Friday’s settlement came as jurors were into their first full day of deliberations. On Thursday, Trice’s attorney, Beasley Allen’s Tom Willingham, suggested a range of damages that topped $120 million in compensatories, and requested punitives be awarded. “Shouldn’t [Trice's son] be paid [in non-economic damages]… as much as the health care providers are going to get paid?” Willingham said, after noting evidence that medical expenses for the child’s profound injuries would run between $16 and $60 million.


Friday’s announcement of a settlement wrapped a 7-day trial that focused on whether the booster seat was safe. Dorel contends the seat was appropriately designed to protect against rolling out of the car’s lap belt, but that Trice did not heed the warnings and instructions for the seat’s use. During Thursday’s closings, ArentFox Schiff’s Jonathan Judge told jurors evidence showed the child was not wearing his shoulder belt properly at the time of the crash. 

“Dorel can’t control how people use their car seats once they buy [them] and take [them] home,” Judge said. “There is only one person who has the power to stop gross misuse from happening. And that is the parent who puts their child in the car seat and makes their own decision about whether they’re going to follow the instructions they’re given.”

But Trice’s attorneys contended evidence showed she had properly belted Buddy into the booster seat. And during Friday’s closings, Beasley Allen’s Ben Baker pointed to crash test video he said showed that Dorel’s seat failed to adequately secure properly-belted children the size of Trice's son at the time of the crash. 

"If a booster seat cannot put a child in the correct position to have the seat belt restraining, then it has failed at its only job, to hold the child in the seat," Baker said. "That's what this case is about." 

CVN has reached out to the attorneys on the case and will update this article with their comments. 

Email Arlin Crisco at

Related Information

Watch the trial.

Not a subscriber?

Learn how you can access an unrivaled trial video library. 

Topics: Trice v. Dorel Juvenile Group