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Georgia Jury Awards Family $3 Million in Ford Seat Back Defect Case


A Georgia jury has awarded $3 million in compensatory damages against Ford Motor Co. in the case of a 76-year-old woman who died after the seat back of her car broke in a rear-end accident. Mary Reese of Augusta, Ga. was driving a Ford Tempo when she was struck from behind by a big truck that was carrying gravel, the article said.

Her car plummeted down a steep embankment. Reese was taken to the hospital with severe spinal and head injuries. She died 23 days later, the article reported. Reese’s adult children filed the product liability lawsuit against Ford alleging that the seatback failure in the Ford Tempo caused their mother’s lethal injuries. The jury awarded compensatory damages, but not punitive damages in this case.

And what do Ford officials have to say about the verdict? They’re going to appeal the $3-million award, according to a spokeswoman. Ford maintained during the trial that the seats were “made to protect front-seat passengers by yielding and absorbing the energy of a rear-end crash.” The company maintained that the intensity and severity of the crash caused Reese’s death, not the car seat.

We don’t know all the facts of this particular case or exactly how the accident occurred. But what we do know from representing numerous victims in Ford seat back cases is that many of those seat backs are defective. One of our clients, Stephanie Collins, ended up reluctantly settling with Ford in a product liability case involving the death of her 7-year-old daughter, Crystal.

Stephanie will tell you that her research and the crash tests Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys did in her case, showed clearly that the seat backs in many Ford cars are no better than lawn chairs. Of course, Ford meets federal requirements with those seats, which says a lot about federal standards that are terribly lacking in the area of auto safety. The seat back in Stephanie’s Ford Escort plopped back in a very slow speed rear end crash – a fender bender. But the seatback ended up hitting Crystal (who was in the rear seat) on the chest, killing her. So here’s a question for Ford officials: “Where should Stephanie Collins have put her daughter to keep her safe in the Ford Escort?”

She couldn’t have put her in the front seat. The only safe place (or so she thought) was in the rear seat where she was buckled up. It’s about time Ford stopped denying this product defect that has taken too many precious lives. They need to stand up and take responsibility for the harm their defective products have caused consumers. We at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have taken it upon ourselves to be a significant part of this fight against Ford and other auto manufacturers who believe that they can get away flooding the market with such defective auto products to save on a few measly bucks.

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