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Ford Lawsuit yields 350 mil

Discussion in 'Auto Industry News' started by wpurple, June 3, 2004.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^



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  1. wpurple

    wpurple Well-Known Member

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    from yahoo news:

    A US jury ordered Ford Motor Company to pay a woman paralyzed in a Ford Explorer crash 246 million dollars in punitive damages after handing the automaker its first courtroom defeat involving its flagship sport utility vehicle.
    It marked Ford's first loss in nearly a dozen cases that have gone to trial challenging the safety of the nation's best-selling SUV.


    The company said it would appeal.


    "This was an extremely severe crash initiated by driver error," said Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes. "Any SUV would have performed the same way."


    On Tuesday, the same jury found the automaker liable for 122.6 million dollars in compensatory damages in connection with the January 2002 rollover that left Benetta Buell-Wilson, 49, paralysed from the waist down.


    The mother-of-two swerved to avoid an object on the road and her 1997 Explorer flipped over, according to testimony. The vehicle's roof caved in, breaking the woman's spinal column.
     
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  3. huskyfan23

    huskyfan23 Rah no Hans Bwix

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    Wow they must've swerved really hard, there's women drivers for ya. A couple months ago a metal ladder was in the middle of the freeway. The person in front of me swerved and it was too late for me. Went over the ladder with no problems. I bet these people were swerving from a squirrel or something. I don't see how someone can sue for so much money. Being paralyzed would suck, but $240+ million? I could see a few million but that judgement is just ridiculous.
     
  4. DeRocha

    DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    2 Million for the victim and 238M for her legal team... :banghead:
     
  5. draft

    draft Well-Known Member

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    Just another way for the media to stab at the Explorers and the infamous rollover low-blow when it's either, A) Firestone tires, B) The driver itself. Maybe for once they'll stop bagging on the poor thing. :(
     
  6. huskyfan23

    huskyfan23 Rah no Hans Bwix

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    Since the Explorer is the most popular SUV, it'll most likely have the highest amount of rollovers. It takes a lot to roll one of these things over.
     
  7. jimbo74

    jimbo74 Elite Exploder

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    rolling the explorer is 99.9% driver error... --- TRUST ME! I KNOW ROLLED MY X TWICE!!
     
  8. A Wise Guy

    A Wise Guy Well-Known Member

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    How true.

    Name the one company that is glad that Ford has had such a bad rap with the Explorer?





    Isuzu with the Trooper.
     
  9. V8BoatBuilder

    V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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    How true. Consumer Reports' "Unsafe at any speed" sure put a damper on sales. However Isuzu is now pretty much another GM re-badge label, and the Trooper is no longer being made.

    My Dad drives a 99 Trooper, which I have been borrowing while I redo my mountaineer. I will admit it is tippier than a stock X, but I feel completely safe driving it around turns. When I get behind it's wheel, or the wheel of my lifted Mountaineer, I know I am driving an SUV with a high center of gravity and a suspention designed to flex. I drive the vehicle accordingly. Most of these crashes are indeed driver error, people not knowing how to drive, or momenterily forgetting. Its not a woman or man thing - its human error.
     
  10. BBQ_HotDogs

    BBQ_HotDogs A Man Without Wheels

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    Right now my sister-in-law has a pending lawsuit against Ford also. She rolled her 98 Explorer avoiding hitting a deer in the road. It rolled, killing her oldest son, Andy, age 12 and injuring her other son, Brian age 10 badly and also injured herself. To this day she still has chuncks of glass in her head that the Dr.'s will not remove. We can feel them too. How much money is a human life worth? To me, no amount of money could replace my only daughter if I had an accident where my Explorer rolled where it actually should have stayed on all 4's.

    Now don't get me wrong here, While I think that 350+ million is quite obsessive, just how much is a human life worth? While these people did not die, there lives are changed forever and very dramatically to say the least. If I was a juror, I would never award someone that much money, ever. But then again, we don't know all of the details. But you have to factor in, will they need daily care for the rest of there lives? That's not cheap. Say $100 a day for a day/night nurse x 352 days a year, that's 35,200 a year times 60 years of life remaining, that makes a total of over a million dollars right there just for care. No therapy, Dr. bills, food, support, special vehicle, special needs around the house, like wheel chair accesible areas, that is how the money adds up so quickly. You have to look at all the sides to make a fair judgement, just not the award. Plus what the dang trial team had to be paid, they probably got over half of the money there own greedy selves. That is where the shame is, IMHO.

    And by the way, her accident just happened a little over a year ago and everyone is still grieving over it, so don't go blasting me just yet, just stating my opinion.
     
  11. wpurple

    wpurple Well-Known Member

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    ..so it appears your entitled to 720 Million $$$$ :)
     
  12. the_tool_man

    the_tool_man Active Member

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    Hi all:

    Just to add to what has been said, note that $246M was punative damages. Punative damages are meant to punish the defendent by hitting them in the checkbook. That's why the judgement is so high. They knew Ford has deep pockets, and wanted to hurt them.

    The remainder of the judgement was compensatory. That is meant to compensate the injured for her change in lifestyle, income, etc. as BBQ_HotDogs said.

    Keep in mind that in order to win a case like this, the plaintiff has to convince the jury that Ford built and sold Explorers knowing they had a tendency to roll over. Personally, I find it hard to believe that any automaker would do that, and I don't think that's what happened. That didn't stop the jury from being convinced of it, though.

    Her lawyers are probably getting 60-75% of the money, if not more by the time the appeals process runs it's course. That will leave her with about $100M.

    BBQ_HotDogs, I'm really sorry to hear about your sister-in-law's misfortune. I cannot imagine what she is going through. I'm a single parent of a 10 year old girl. If I lost my daughter, I don't know what I would do.

    Regards,
    John.
     
  13. wpurple

    wpurple Well-Known Member

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    Being the fact that there are so many Explorer's/Mountaineers on the road, you would think that it it were a design problem that more accidents would have occured. There are more rollovers with Explorer's/Mountaineers but heck there are alot more of these vehicles than any other by a good margain. (It's a SUV, I would expect to some degree that it WILL rollover in a certain conditions)
    I think one should acknowlegde that there is an inherant risk with a particular vehicle...for example, If you drive a Toyota Echo and you hit a telephone pole at 75mph, can you expect to sue Toyota because they their design caused extensive injuries?
    I have a Explorer Sport and a Mountaineer. I think they are a very safe vehicle. Within reason, no one can predict the outcome of an accident, there are far too many factors to take into consideration. I think in many cases people think that no matter what happens, or what they do or don't do, the car/truck (or peice of equipment for that matter) should have saved their a&&.
    It is very unfortunate that some of these injuries resulted in tramatic injuries and fatalities in some cases but Explorer' and Mountaineers are not the only vehicles that these things happen to people in.
     
  14. RickOTR

    RickOTR Active Member

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    Why is it always the explorer who is at fault. I see people driving these vehicles down LA highways doing a least 80 to 100mph, and I'm not just talking about Explorers. About a year ago I witnessed a Chevy Tahoe traveling at a high rate of speed who tried to swerve into another lane to avoid rear ending another car. The drivers side came off the ground and started rolling until it hit the concrete retaining wall. The explorer is just as safe a vehicle than any other SUV out there, and most of the roll overs are contributed to driver error. I hit a large paint can that fell off a truck that was in front of me this summer and the front end of the X came off the ground. I was still able to control it and never once felt it was going to roll or crash on me. By the way I read that article in the newspaper yesterday and if it were me, I would have let the X hit the object and not have tried to swerve around it.
     
  15. 95xploder

    95xploder New Member

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    I hate to say this, because I love my X, but I've actually seen the documents and memo's that were taken from Ford concerning rollovers and understeer. It's kinda scary to tell you the truth.

    They were in a book I happened to pick up and read at Borders while I was wasting some time. Ford knew they had problems with rollovers and understeer in emergency situations. That was the reason behind the low tire pressure on the Firestones. They HAD to go with low pressure to get the darn thing to pass the safety tests.

    There were also several memos from Firestone to Ford warning them that they were uneasy about their tires running with such a low pressure.

    In the end money won out on both sides. Ford had too much money invested to completely redesign the X and Firestone recieved enough money to get over their tires being run with such a low pressure.

    Now, the X is completely redesigned and from what I've heard, they've fixed the rollover and understeer problems.

    What does this mean to me, an owner of an "unsafe" 95 X. Well, when I swerve to avoid stuff, a part of my awareness is concerned with just where my X is in relationship to the ground. I've never even once felt the X was unsafe, but I know that it can be.

    It's alot like that friendly neighborhood rottie. Big, strong, friendly as hell, but if you treat him wrong, that joker's gona bite you, and be certain, it's gona hurt a whole bunch. So, treat him nice, take care of him, and always have a treat in your pocket for him.

    .....Just my thoughts
     
  16. Ford_Racing_Guy

    Ford_Racing_Guy Well-Known Member

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    this is just like lifting a truck, rolling it and then sueing the company who makes the lift kits
     
  17. aldive

    aldive Elite In Memoriam

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    .... or a Darwin Award.
     
  18. RickOTR

    RickOTR Active Member

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    I agree Ford knew about the explorer design, but the facts still stand it is a vehicle with a high center of gravity and it will rollover. I've owned cars, trucks, and SUV's and can say that a truck/SUV handles much differently then a car. If you read the warning label on the sunvisor and owners manual it says this vehicle may act different then that of an ordinary low center of gravity vehicle(car). My Porsche drives much different then your average day sedan. If you give it too much gas, the rear wheels will send it into an uncontrolablel spin. I have really had to practice to learn how to drive it, especially racing at the drag strip.
     
  19. Dolphan

    Dolphan Active Member

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    Next thing you know U-haul will stop renting to Explorers -DOH!
     
  20. DeRocha

    DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    I agree with 95xploder. The Explorer and similiar vehicles share ride qualitities that are very much different than Cars. The problem is the people buying these SUVs drive them as if they were cars :nono: To make things worse the SUV manufactures market these SUVs as "Cool" substitues for otherwise minivan soccer moms & dads. These people don't really need a 4x4 or SUV, but get one because it is the "In" thing to do. The manufactures know this and have all been making Car like SUVs (you know the ones never intended to place a tire offroad) to fill this need. I just hope all these idiots don't ruin it for the rest of us responsible 4x4 owners.

    I feel bad for the people that have been hurt and or killed, but I firmly believe operator error (too much steering input) coupled with speed is the cause for most of all roll overs.
     
  21. yosh18981898

    yosh18981898 Active Member

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    It's all driver error. I know exactly what my X can do and what it can't. Any one with half a brain can look at an explorer from the outside and realize that if they swerve to hard, its gonna roll! If they can't see that, then they have absolutely no business driving anything !!!! The way I look at it, if there's an obstacle in the road, explorers, or any other SUV, are designed to run it over, not swerve out of the way!! The thought of people trying to sue Ford for designing a vehicle for off road use that will roll if swerved like a sports car is absolute nonsense!!! I feel sorry for that person having to spend the rest of her life in a wheel chair, but the only person she has to blame is her self!!!!!!!!!
     

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