Jury sides with Utah woman’s $2.7 million claim against Volkswagen

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- The almost seven-year wait for the case is over, and a jury has found in favor of Lois Smith’s claims against Volkswagen for $2.7 million.

In 2011, Volkswagen Southtowne, Inc. sold Lois Smith a Volkswagen that had been recalled as “do not sell” three weeks prior to her purchase.

Injectors in the engine compartment were subject to breaking apart and spraying diesel fuel all over the inside of the engine while the car ran. No one checked the car Smith bought, and on a road trip, the defect made itself manifest, spraying diesel fuel all over her engine.

Heating up over 500 degrees, the fuel turned to carbon monoxide smoke, poisoning Smith.

“She has been diagnosed with various types of brain injury,” Salt Lake City trial lawyer Collin King said. “She can walk and talk and converse, but she has a very serious brain injury that is permanent, and is probably going to cause her to incur early dementia.”

Brain damage that Smith said she never thought would happen to her.

“The carpet was pulled out from under me,” Smith said. “I had gotten where I had wanted to go, I was very happy doing something that I was really good with.”

Though Smith said she can’t go back in time and change anything, she is learning to be thankful for the experiences she had.

“When you’re at the bottom, there’s no place to go but up—is the way I try to look at life,” Smith said.

King said he hopes the $2.7 million victory—if Volkswagen does not try to appeal—will help Smith live comfortably.

“When we’re able to get a verdict like this to help them, we are overjoyed, we are thrilled,” King said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”