Passenger is Awarded $151 Million After Defective Ford Explorer Rollover Crash
It’s common knowledge that Sports Utility Vehicles are more prone to rolling over than smaller cars. However, when an SUV is poorly designed, its manufacturers can be held liable in a lawsuit. This month, a man from Alabama was awarded $151 million after a defective Ford Explorer rollover crash left him paralyzed.
Travaris “Tre” Smith suffered serious injuries when the Ford Explorer he was traveling in rolled over in Dallas County. A jury found the Ford Motor Company to be at fault for the defective Ford Explorer rollover crash. The jury hit the carmaker with a $151 million verdict.
Smith suffered a serious injury in a 1998 Ford Explorer in August 2015. The car’s driver swerved to avoid hitting an animal on the road. The SUV rolled over twice before righting itself.
The rollover motion knocked Smith unconscious and snapped his spine. The crash paralyzed the passenger.
Lawyers for the passenger pointed out the 1998 Ford Explorer was the subject of two recalls due to its faulty design. The SUV was more prone to rolling over than similar vehicles.
The injury attorneys claimed the model of Ford Explorer involved in the accident consistently failed consumer testing because it was prone to rolling over. They said Ford company engineers advised the carmaker that it needed to change the Explorer’s design. The company refused.
The Montgomery Advertiser reported the jury found that Ford Motor Co. failed to comply with its own safety guidelines related to the Explorer’s rollover resistance requirement. The Detroit-based carmaker went further and attempted to cover up the dangerous defective design of the SUV. They ruled that Ford must pay Smith $100 million in punitive damages and a further $51,791,000 in compensatory damages.
The large payout will allow the 24-year-old passenger to receive 24/7 care after he sustained life-altering injuries.
Smith was represented by Beasley-Allen lawyers Greg Allen, LaBarron Boone, and Kendall Dunson as well as Bill Gamble of Gamble, Gamble, Calame and Jones, LLC.
Dunson said in a press release that Smith cannot be left on his own to care for himself in any way after the accident.
Defective Ford Explorer Rollover Crash Highlights Montgomery Advertiser Problems in the Motor Industry
In recent years, juries held Ford and other carmakers liable for design faults that caused numerous deaths and injuries on the roads of America.
This year, Toyota recalled another 1.7 million vehicles that contain dangerous Takata airbags. The ongoing recall is the biggest to affect the car industry.
Overall tens of millions of cars have been recalled due to Takata airbags. A fault with the component equates to an increased chance the bags will explode and send potentially deadly shrapnel flying into drivers and passengers.
A defect in the airbag inflators means the airbags may explode suddenly in humid conditions. At least 23 deaths have been linked to exploding Takata airbags and many more people suffered injuries.
The lawsuit in Texas County shows people injured in older vehicles may also have grounds to file lawsuits against a manufacturer if it failed to take appropriate action to warn drivers.
Sadly, the big car manufacturers, like the big drug companies, often put profits before safety. They seek to downplay serious defects until people get hurt.
You can check if your vehicle is subject to a recall by entering its VIN number on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
If you or a family member has been hurt in an accident caused by a defective car, truck, or motorcycle, please talk to our Virginia dangerous products attorneys. Call us for a free consultation at (757) 231-6443.