Ford Explorers involved in rollover car accidents have generated a number of product liability lawsuits against Ford Motor Company. In Florida, a significant verdict against Ford was recently reversed as a result of improper evidence at trial.
According to the 3rd District Court of Appeal a trial judge committed error by allowing testimony alluding to hundreds of Ford Explorer accidents without requiring the plaintiffs to establish similarities between those accidents and the fatal one that caused the death of the teenage driver. During the trial, witnesses reportedly testified that rollover accidents involving Ford Explorers caused hundreds of injuries and deaths, and that Ford could have prevented this young man’s death by quickening design changes it made to the Explorer after the accident. The appellate court obviously found the admission of such evidence harmful and determined that it denied the giant car manufacturer a fair trial.
It is unfortunate for the family of the deceased driver that no effort was made to qualify any of the other Ford Explorer car accidents as being similar and therefore relevant to the jury’s consideration of the issues before it. We should all remember that in the late 1990’s, hundreds of deaths involving rolling Ford Explorers and failing Bridgestone tires made national headlines and led to a $19 million recall campaign by both companies in 2000 and 2001. In this case the Explorer in which the teenager was riding flipped four times. The accident ejected him from the sports utility vehicle even though he was wearing his seatbelt.