Ford Motor Co. v. Hall-Edwards, 997 So. 2d 1148 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008)
This claim was filed in Miami-Dade County against Ford Motor Company, alleging the manufacturer was negligent due to a design defect in their Ford Explorer’s stability and handling.
In 1997 a woman was driving her Ford Explorer SUV when she fell asleep at the wheel. When she was suddenly wakened up as she veered off of the road, she quickly attempted to rectify the situation by steering the SUV back onto the roadway. Unfortunately, in attempting to do so, the woman’s Explorer flipped and killed a passenger that was in the vehicle.
After a jury trial, an award for damages was given to the mother and father of the victim, as representatives of the estate. The jury awarded thirty million dollars to the estate as they found that the manufacturer was liable for placing the SUV on the market with the existing issue with the stability.
As consumers purchase products, including vehicles, from different retailers and dealers, it is important that they recognize that nothing is infallible. When purchasing cars and other products, we almost never take the time to really consider the possible harm they can inflict on us. The difficult question that arises if a product does in fact cause you an injury is, “Are you sure that a defect in that product was the cause of your injury or death?” This is sometimes extremely difficult to establish, especially in a case dealing with stability of a vehicle.
Often times, expert testimony will be needed to help demonstrate the flaws in the product. Testing the theory that the stability of the Explorer was what caused the SUV to rollover surely took time, money and energy to recreate for a jury.
When a company produces a product, it is their responsibility to make sure that the product is safe prior to placing it on the consumer market. There are multiple requirements for safety that a company must meet before they can sell their product to a consumer. Given these mandatory safety requirements, it should be noted that a company’s number one objective is to increase revenue. Often times this creates situations where unsafe products make their way into the hands of unknowing customers. When an unsafe product does slip through the implemented safety precautions, it is the company that produced the product who becomes liable for any injury that the product created.
In Florida, determining who is liable for an injury resulting from a product can sometimes be difficult. Generally speaking, there are two categories which defective products are classified under; Design Defect and Manufacture Defect.
Design defects in product liability cases stem from the creation of the product. In other words, there was some type of issue in the development of the product in the beginning stages which make the product unsafe. This creates a problem with the product as a whole and would require all of sold products to be deemed defected in their design and recalled.
Manufacture defects in product liability cases derive from faulty construction of the product which did not originate from its design. An example of this is when there is a loose screw which causes the product to fall apart during its use.
If you or someone you love have been involved in an accident and feel it might have been caused by a vehicle malfunction or design defect, then contact the car accident attorneys of Madalon Law for your free consultation and get answers to your questions.