INVESTIGATES: Family suing Honda after daughter is crushed in backseat from collision

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A family in Duval County is suing the Honda company after they say the van their daughter was riding in failed to protect her in a crash.

At 7 years old, Lily Bateman was a vibrant girl.

“She loved to dance and do gymnastics,” her mother, Kristina Bateman, told us.

On Aug. 19, 2019, she was looking forward to a new school year.

“We just picked up stuff for homeschooling,” Kristina said. “We were going to start homeschooling that next day, and everybody was pretty excited, and life just changed completely.”

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While stopped on Normandy Boulevard, someone crashed into the Batemans’ van.

Lily suffered a brain injury and was in the hospital for three months.

Now 9 years old, Lily’s recovery is just beginning.

“She remembers some things she’s learned before,” Kristina explained. “But some things she doesn’t, she has to re-learn. It’s really hard, it’s very hard to tell where she’s going to be at this point.”

Attorneys with the law firm Pajcic & Pajcic are suing Honda on behalf of the family, blaming the van’s design for the extent of Lily’s injuries.

Attorneys say the third back row, which they call the ‘crush zone’, sits too low and wide and therefore, cars can collide straight into the tailgate.

“There’s no support mechanism in the vehicle that’s going to prevent the crush into the third row where passengers are sitting,” said Seth Pajcic of Pajcic & Pajcic, who is representing the Bateman family.

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The family wants Honda to reconsider its design and cover Lily’s medical expenses.

They would like to see safety testing standards change as well to incorporate rear-passenger safety.

But they’re also asking other families to do their research when buying a car.

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“Until it happens to you, you take it for granted,” Kristina said.

Honda’s corporate office, when contacted to find out if they had a response to the lawsuit, issued a statement.

“American Honda has not yet been served with the lawsuit you reference, and we generally do not comment on pending litigation,” a spokesperson replied.