Can car manufacturer defects be figured into accident claims?

Between making sure kids have securely fastened their seat belts to the behavior of other drivers on the road, parents have a lot to worry while behind the wheel. As such, parents do everything they can to ensure the safety of everyone in their vehicle. Still, those measures may not be enough to prevent the effects of a serious car accident.

Readers in Louisville may be interested to read about the difficulty one family faced while pursuing a civil claim in Tennessee. The family filed a claim for a car crash involving a drunk driver. However, they also sought compensation from Ford Motor Co. for a safety defect in their car that had a serious impact on the outcome of the case. Even though the auto manufacturer initially fought the claim, the state's supreme court eventually ruled in favor of the family.

According to reports, a 6-year-old boy was riding in his grandpa's car when a drunk driver crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and caused a collision. As a result of the wreck, the young boy was paralyzed. The family included Ford in the suit because of a flaw in the rear seat's safety belt and the failure to warn drivers and passengers about injury risks.

In the initial trial, Ford was ordered to pay over $6.5 million to the family, but an appeals court later determined that the verdict was too large. Most recently, the supreme court brought closure to a case that began in 2009 by reinstating the original court's ruling.

This case demonstrates how important it is to consider all angles of an accident case. Of course, Ford was not directly responsible for causing the accident, yet their failure to create safer restraints and provide better warnings contributed to the boy's severe injuries. The hope is that the family will now have access to the resources necessary to handle the costs resulting from the crash.

Source: Automotive News, "Tenn. Supreme Court reinstates ruling against Ford in liability case," Sean Gagnier, Sept. 5, 2013

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