A Florida Appeals Court has overturned a record $60 million jury verdict awarded to the parents of a 17-year-old boy who died after the 1996 Ford Explorer he was a passenger in rolled over, according to a Bloomberg News report. Lance Hall’s parents claimed in their product liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. that the Explorer sport utility vehicle’s design defects made it unstable.
A Miami jury in November 2005 awarded the Halls $61 million, making it the largest award against an auto maker that year. The trial court reduced that award by $1 million, the news report said. But last week, the appellate court completely negated the jury award and ordered a new trial because the panel said the trial court erred in allowing the Halls’ attorneys to present evidence of deaths and injuries in other Explorer rollovers without having them show similarities between the different accidents, the Bloomberg report said.
The Hall family reportedly plans to appeal this decision to the Florida Supreme Court. The plaintiff’s attorney said that they are prepared to go back to the trial court and fight Ford all over again if the Supreme Court rejects their appeal or does not consider it. Ford maintains that Hall died not because of defects in the Explorer, but because the driver of the vehicle fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of the vehicle.
At Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, we have found time and again that Ford SUVs are defective – whether it is the Explorer, the Expedition or the Excursion. Our expensive, independent crash tests have quite conclusively proved that these vehicles do nothing to protect their drivers or passengers. One of our clients, Daniel James, a graduate of the University of San Diego, suffered severe injuries to his hand after losing control of his Explorer at normal speed on the freeway in San Diego. We’ve seen many clients suffer horrible tragedies as a result of these defective vehicles.
Their performance plummets to all-time lows when it comes to accidents that involve rollovers. Their flimsy roofs cave in all too easily causing traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, crushing the occupants.
Our prayers are with the Halls. Fighting an industry giant like Ford and winning is an uphill battle all the way. We have first-hand experience with that.