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Fatal SUV Accident Leads to Another Lawsuit Against Ford


The family of a Tongan Prince killed on Highway 101 in Menlo Park last year has filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. The family is alleging that the Explorer sport utility vehicle they were riding in was unsafe and that the auto maker marketed it as a safe vehicle in spite of knowing its dangers.

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Explorer was sideswiped during a street racing incident on the highway on July 5. Edith Delgado, a Redwood City teenager, is facing three counts of vehicular manslaughter in the deaths of Tongan Prince Tu’ipelehake, 55, his wife, Princess Kaimana Aleamotu’a Tuku’aho, 46, and their driver, 36-year-old Vinisia Hefa of Palo Alto, the article said.

The 1998 Explorer flipped several times. Delgado and her passenger were not injured in the crash. The lawsuit accuses Ford of deceptive marketing saying that the auto maker touts the Explorer as a safe vehicle while knowing very well that it was prone to rollovers and has a roof that crushes on impact. The plaintiffs’ attorney states that had the prince and his wife been a passenger in a Honda, Toyota or even a Ford Mustang, they would have probably survived the crash.

It has been reported that Ford has won 27 of the 32 lawsuits involving the Ford Explorer and the same alleged defects, rollovers (instability) and roof crush (weak roofs). Ford lawyers of course maintain that the Explorer is a “very safe vehicle.” An attorney is quoted in this article saying that the company has done numerous tests and evaluations using third parties and that they all show that the Explorer is “as safe or safer than vehicles in the same category.”

It is no wonder that Ford wins the majority of these cases. They beat us in a trial last year in New Mexico. We spent over $400,000 in testing, experts and litigation costs to prove that Ford was legally responsible for the rollover and roof crush accident that killed a man. Ford’s legal team hinted to us that Ford, in defending our lawsuit, spent multiple times what we spent.

Due to “confidentiality” clauses in Ford’s settlement documents, I can not say how much Ford has paid our clients in our successful cases against them involving Explorer rollovers and roof crush accidents. Do you think Ford would have paid on all those cases if they thought they would beat us at trial? Ford will only go to trial in the cases where they feel they have a good chance of winning either because of the quality of attorney against them or the facts of the particular case.

Need a consultation regarding an accident of some type? Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys has extensive experience with rollover and roof crush accidents. Call me, John Bisnar, 800-259-6373 for a free, confidential consultation.

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