Motor Vehicle Defects Found In 2000 Ford Lincoln LS Seat Collapse
Most motor vehicle defect attorneys will admit that a passengers safety is at risk riding in a 2000 Ford Lincoln LS. In the summer of 2000, Kelsey Sasser, age 6, was in the rear-center passenger seat of a 2000 Lincoln LS being driven by her mother, Rhonda Sasser. The Lincoln was involved in a head-on car collision with a pickup truck in southwest Georgia. Kelsey's fold-down seat collapsed during the car accident, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.
In her product liability lawsuit, Rhonda Sasser claimed Ford, knew about the defective safety latch that allowed rear fold-down seats in its sedans to collapse during car crashes. The jurors in Sasser's trial were told that Ford had been aware of design problems with the safety latch as early as 1993. The car maker changed its design on its 2001 models of the sedan, but did not recall the 2000 model. The seats were designed to fold from the upright position to make room for long items like skis.
"Ford knew of the latch defect as far back as 1993, but failed to make changes to the design. Ford could have warn customers of the latches' potential for failure, thereby Ford committed a breach of trust with its customers and should be held accountable," said nationally recognized auto defect lawyer, Brian Chase.
Rhonda Sasser, a registered nurse, said her family has mounting medical bills and insurance wouldn't cover all of the therapy her child needs. Kelsey, a cheerful freckle-faced girl testified in her wheelchair, moving some jurors to tears.
Ford tried to persuade the jurors that Kelsey was riding in the front seat at the time of the car crash and was seriously hurt by the air bag. "This tragedy occurred because the driver lost control of her car with a child improperly restrained in the front seat," the company said. A Detroit product defect attorney representing Ford went on to asked jurors to think of the 300,000 employees--from the chief executive officer down to the janitors--who could be affected by another large verdict in the case.
"Ford's 300,000 employees, from CEO down to the janitors, should have done the right thing and recalled the defective seat latch and prevented six-year-old Kelsey Sasser's horrible injury," noted nationally recognized auto products liability lawyer, John Bisnar. "Ford took a calculated risk that no one would be seriously injured by their defective latch. Both Kelsey and Ford lost. Hopefully Ford will be quick with recalls in the future."
The jury in Georgia awarded more than $47 million to the Sasser family. It awarded nearly $14 million in punitive damages to Rhonda and Kelsey, due to Ford's "conscious indifference" to safety concerns in its Ford's 2000 Lincoln LS luxury sedan. The same jury awarded Kelsey almost $34 million as compensation for pain, expenses and permanently altering the quality of her life as a result of the car crash.
"Her mother is a single mom and just delighted for the child," said one of the car defect lawyers representing the Sassers. "But the child is a paraplegic and there is nothing good to be said about that." Rhonda Sasser remarked, "It was like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. We had been told for years we were not telling the truth, and for 12 people to believe us was just such a wonderful feeling."
Ford plans to appeal the jury's decision.
It was a long hard battle for the Sassers and their legal team to take on the corporate giant Ford Motor Company and it isn't over. Lawsuits like the Sassers' and the dozens of others we have pursued against Ford do nothing to cure a six-year-old's paralysis. However, it is our belief that the costs Ford endures in these auto product defect lawsuit will eventually motivate them to make safer cars and to recall vehicles quickly upon the discovery of a dangerous component or propensity and thereby preventing needless serious injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a defective auto part or vehicle, contact the experienced California auto products liability attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We will use our extensive knowledge and resources to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.