Nissan pays $1.5 million to settle fatal accident lawsuit citing lack of airbags

Nissan will pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it by the family of an 18-year-old killed in 2017 in one of its models that wasn't equipped with a certain type of airbag.


Ashley Overton of North Agusta, N.C., was driving a 2016 Nissan Versa when it was struck by an oncoming vehicle that veered into her lane. She was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal head trauma as her car rolled over. The lawyer representing Overton’s estate argued that if the car was equipped with side-curtain airbags that cover the window in the event of this type of accident they may have protected her from the fatal injury.


The Versa was the least expensive car on sale in the U.S. and Nissan's attorney said that it met all federal safety standards at the time, which did not require side-curtain airbags. However, it received a Poor overall crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a four-star rating from NHTSA.

Despite a request from both parties that the amount of the settlement remain confidential, U.S. Judge Mary Geiger Lewis required its release.

“The public does have an interest in knowing about these things,” Lewis said this week, according to The State.

Approximately $776,000 of the settlement will go to Overton’s estate and the rest to its lawyers.

The Versa has been fully redesigned for 2020 and now features side curtain airbags.

The Associated Press contributed to this report