Our firm recently won an out-of-court settlement in an auto defect claim involving a Ford E-350 15-passenger van accident. We represented Jose Estrada and Rita Cruz Quintero on behalf of the estate of Jessica Estrada, their daughter, who suffered fatal injuries in the May 27, 2006 accident. The settlement amount is confidential.
The accident occurred when Jose Estrada, who was driving the 2005 Ford 15-passenger van lost control of the vehicle when a rear Goodyear tire blew, according to a police report. The van carried several members of Estrada’s family and they were coming back from a family trip to San Diego. The van rolled over crushing the roof causing fatal injuries to Jessica Estrada.
There have been repeated warnings about 15-passenger vans from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). We alleged in our lawsuit that Ford knowingly designed and manufactured the Ford E-350 15-passenger van with defective roof supports. The auto maker did not use an advanced electronic stability system when that technology was readily available. What’s more – they used tires that were defectively designed and manufactured by Goodyear!
Why do auto makers knowingly make defective vehicles? There’s always only one reason – profits. My partner, Brian Chase, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys in the country when it comes to 15-passenger van rollover crashes, says users of these vans have no idea that these vehicles are death traps until it’s too late. For a few hundred dollars, Ford could have made a vehicle that was substantially safer and helped save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives that have been lost and catastrophic injuries that have been suffered because of these defective vehicles.
It’s not just individuals who own these vans or rent them for family trips because they don’t know about its dangers. Several educational institutions, church and community groups, even child care centers and some schools use these vans for transporting groups. This must be stopped at once. Groups that knowingly use these death traps must be held liable for their actions. It’s about time for our federal officials to deem these dangerous vehicles illegal on our roadways.
The money we got for the family will never help bring Jessica Estrada back. How do you fill a void left by a child? It’s impossible. But our goal was to make Ford pay for putting a defective product on the market. A product that causes severe loss, hardship and grief to consumers every day. But this auto maker has only cared about its bottom line.