A woman in Maine is suing General Motors after she suffered a third-degree burn while riding in the backseat of her friend’s Chevrolet Suburban.
Emma Verrill filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, saying that GM failed to adequately test the rear seat heaters to prevent them from reaching dangerously high temperatures that would burn human flesh. She’s seeking unspecified damages.
Verrill is paralyzed from the waist down, she cannot feel temperature in the lower half of her body. She did not know that the seat heater in her friend’s 2009 Suburban was activated June 28, 2012, during a drive from New York City to the Connecticut shore.
She learned her skin was badly scarred during a series of hospital visits after the injury. A doctor had to remove a section of skin from her upper left thigh to graft in place of the burned flesh.
“I have very limited sensation. I have touch sensation, but I don’t have temperature sensation. So if water is too hot or if something is too cold, I can’t tell. Because of that, my body can tell me in other ways if there is something that isn’t really right. And I just knew that something was wrong,” Verrill said.
Verrill is permanently paralyzed after a spinal operation that went terribly wrong in 2003 at age 15 during her sophomore year of high school. She will need a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not received any consumer complaints about the vehicles’ seat heaters, said José Alberto Uclés, a spokesman for the government agency.
Yarmouth woman sues GM over burns
Emma Verrill, who became a paraplegic in high school, is now suing General Motors over an SUV seat heater malfunction that left her bed-ridden for 10 weeks and scarred for life.