Texas State University graduate student Emma Verrill has filed a lawsuit against General Motors for third-degree burns. She blames her friend’s 2008 Chevrolet Suburban for the injury, citing that the heated seats must have been defective since they reached “dangerously high temperatures that would burn human flesh.”
You’re probably asking yourself, “why would anybody continue to sit in a seat if it was that hot?” And this is where things get complicated. Verrill is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have feeling from the waist down. It was a warm day in late June 2012 and Verrill says she didn’t know that the seat heater was on. The next morning she discovered a blister on her buttocks that was the size of her palm.
Following the incident, Verrill underwent a skin graft surgery which removed skin from her left thigh to cover the affected area. She stayed with her parents who cared for her for nearly three months while she was bedridden. Verrill is now sueing General Motors for an unspecified amount of money which would cover past and future medical expenses, other costs and “noneconomic damages in an amount to be determined at trial.” Despite GM’s millions of recent safety recalls, none were related to seat heaters in the Suburban line.
Verrill’s lawsuit states that GM failed to adequately test the rear seat heaters. In GM’s nine-page court-filed response, the automaker denies the seat heater was defective or dangerous, and denies causing Verrill’s injury. A trial date has been set for May 4, 2015.