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Motor Vehicle Defects Found In 1994 Ford Escort Faulty Air Bag -- Late Deployment

Most motor vehicle defect attorneys will agree that late airbag deployment in the 1994 Ford Escort is a serious problem for the cars occupants. Margaret Cruze, a 78-year-old widow, was leaving a nursing home in her 1994 Ford Escort, heading north on Highway 11W in Grainger County, Tennessee. When another driver turned left in front of her, the initial car collision impacted her left front bumper. Cruze was wearing a manual lap seat belt with an automatic shoulder harness--both were in place when the emergency crew arrived to assist her. Her Escort was also equipped with a driver-side air bag, which had deployed, yet she still suffered a cervical fracture at C6-7, which turned her into a quadriplegic.

Cruze filed a product liability suit against Ford Motor Company. Her product liability attorney's alleged that neither Cruze nor the driver of the other car was at fault. Instead, they blamed Ford for Cruze's personal injury, claiming the Escort's air bag system was defective.

At trial, Cruze's auto product defect attorneys produced expert testimony that her personal injuries were caused by the late deployment of the defective air bag. Cruze also presented expert engineering testimony that the late deployment of the air bag was caused by design changes in Ford's air bag crash sensor system, which was defective. Cruz also criticized Ford's car crash testing methods, which done properly, should have predicted the air bag's late deployment and resultant potential for personal injury. Had the testing been more comprehensive, her defective product attorney's argued, Cruz's injuries might have been prevented.

"Defective airbags have been a constant source of frustration for the car industry," noted nationally recognized auto defects attorney, John Bisnar. "They are complex systems that require constant testing and improvements to work properly and safely. Regrettably, they can be injurious or lethal even in a low-speed car accident."

Ford's experts countered, saying Cruze's broken neck did not result from the air bag but from the violence of the car crash and the fragile nature of her body. Ford's experts also defended the quality of its car crash testing.

"Once gain, giant car makers with huge financial and testing resources hunt for excuses, claiming "it was the violence of the collision" or a person's old age that brought about the personal injuries. With so many experts at their disposal, it seems inconceivable that a safer more reliable airbag can't be developed, tested and installed in these cars. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is doing very little to protect consumers from the threat of faulty airbags, and even when it does take action, the process for issuing airbag recalls is painfully slow."

At trial, the jury disagreed with Ford's contentions and found that Cruze had sustained over $6.5 million in damages and apportioned 90% of the fault to Ford, resulting in a judgment against Ford in the amount of over $5.9 million. The other driver was apportioned 10% of the fault, resulting in a judgment of over $650,000 against her.

"Our hearts go out to Ms. Cruze who, despite her ongoing injuries, decided to fight back and take a major automaker to court." observed Brian Chase of the nationally recognized Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys motor vehicle defects law firm. "The personal injuries she suffered could have been prevented had Ford redesigned its airbag system for the Escort. We hope that the many defective auto product lawsuits we have filed against Ford and other car makers will convince them to design safer air bag deployment systems and prevent others from being so needlessly injured."

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.

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