An Arkansas jury late Thursday ordered South Korea-based Hankook Tire Co. LTD to pay $1.2 million to a severely injured dump truck driver over an accident caused by a tire tread defect.
The eight-day trial followed a multiyear legal battle on behalf of 76-year-old truck driver Elmer Philpot. Philpot was driving a load of gravel in 2010 when a defective tread on his right front tire separated, causing him to lose control of his dump truck. In the resulting crash, Philpot suffered leg fractures that required hip replacement.
After hearing evidence about how the defect originated at a Hankook plant in Daejeon, South Korea, the jury found the company 100 percent responsible for the crash and for Philpot’s injuries. The jury award is the largest on record in Conway County, Arkansas. Earlier in the case, Hankook was sanctioned by the judge for discovery misconduct.
When contacted by aftermarketNews, Hankook offered the following comment on the case:
“Hankook Tire is committed to providing quality products and ensuring customer safety, and is continuing its efforts for consumer satisfaction. There has been a lawsuit against Hankook Tire by a U.S. consumer, and the state court has ruled partly in favor of the plaintiff. Hankook Tire values every single consumer of our products. We are carefully considering future proceedings, and will work toward the best outcome.”