Ford Explorer Rollover Victim Awarded $6.5M

A Texas jury awarded a disabled oil field worker $6.5 million for injuries he sustained in 2004 when the tire tread separated on his 1993 Ford Explorer, causing the vehicle to roll over. The 41 year old was ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe brain damage and will need care for the rest of his life. Ford plans to appeal the verdict.

Ford Explorer sales down

Ford Motor Company used to sell a lot of Explorers. However, this once popular line of sport utility vehicle (SUV) has seen sales severely declining over the past five years. While part of the reason may be due to higher fuel prices, a larger part may be due to the vehicle’s safety records. The Explorer has been the subject of thousands of lawsuits involving safety issues that cause the vehicle to roll over.

Why SUVs roll over

SUVs roll over for a variety of reasons, according to Rick Morrison, an Alabama attorney whose firm represents clients in SUV rollover and auto safety cases. He explained the reasons why SUVs may roll over:

  • Lowered center of gravity. One of the key issues with SUV rollovers throughout the last two or three decades has been the lowered center of gravity and doing something to the track width to make the vehicle not as susceptible to rollover.
  • Electronic stability control. Manufactures are now using electronic stability control to prevent rollovers. It’s a computerized system that will actually sense when the vehicle begins to trip over or rollover and will make an adjustment in the vehicle’s handling and steering to prevent the rollover. It was first available back in1995. The foreign manufactures, and even some of our manufactures, started to make it available on their vehicles in 1998. You’ll see them on higher end vehicles, but unfortunately, you do not see them on all SUVs.
  • Lack of testing. There are thousands of Explorers on the road, all of which were not built to be crash worthy or safe in a rollover. In fact, one thing that most consumers, and a lot of attorneys that we work with, are surprised to find out that the American manufactures do not conduct rollover testing to make sure their SUV’s are safe in rollovers. They are not required to do that, either. It is an option. They’re not required to do that by our federal standards. They can if they want to, but most choose not to.

If you’ve been injured in an SUV accident, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a qualified attorney, please click here.

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