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Jury Finds Ford Negligent In Fatal Automobile Crash In Marlene Shirley v. Ford Motor Company
Sacramento news reports that a Sacramento jury has found Ford Motor Company at fault in a fatal automobile accident that took the life of two people and injured two others. The jury awarded the three plaintiffs $73 million in damages. $50 million of the award was for punitive damages, based on what jurors considered was "despicable" conduct by Ford. This included Ford's failure to warn its customers and dealers of a defective tire on its 15-passenger, E-350 Econonoline van. The plaintiffs also asserted that the Econonoline van was unsafe as well due to its design.
If you have been injured in a car crash, or lost a loved one in an automobile accident, it is important to contact an experienced Sacramento car accident lawyer immediately to begin an investigation and to determine your next steps. Often, several different theories of liability may exist and it is important to begin as soon as possible evaluating just what happened in any accident.
In this instance both a personal injury action based on negligence and a wrongful death action were filed. A wrongful death action can arise out of any personal injury action involving the death of an individual as the result of another's wrongful conduct. A wrongful death claim may be brought by the surviving family members for medical expenses and past and future economic and non-economic damages.
Here, the tread separated on the rear right tire of the Econonoline van, causing it to skid off Interstate 5. Evidence introduced at trial showed that Goodyear Tire and Rubber contacted Ford officials about the defective product, but those officials did not contact its dealers or costumers. Additionally, the E-350 van had been the target of several federal advisories.
California is a comparative fault state. This means that even if you are partly to blame for your injuries, you still may receive compensation from any other party at fault. Your damages would be reduced by the proportion of your fault.
Although Ford claimed that one of the men killed in the rollover, Tony Mauro, was to blame for not wearing his seatbelt the jurors determined that he would have been died even if he had been worn one, because the van had been traveling at 70 miles per hour when the van rolled over four times. The jury determined Ford was 59% at fault and Goodyear was 41% at fault. Mauro was not at all to blame. His family was awarded $17,525,979 in the wrongful death action brought against Ford.
Another plaintiff received $5,242,670 as the result of severe abdominal injuries she received in the accident. A third plaintiff who sustained head injuries in the auto accident received $292,000. The $50 million award in punitive damages will be divided between the plaintiffs after Judge David W. Abbott conducts hearings.
If you have been injured in a car crash or have lost a loved one in an auto accident, it is important to contact the experienced Sacramento personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette to evaluate your claim, investigate what happened and answer your personal injury questions.