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Motor Vehicle Defects Reported In 1995 Ford Explorer Sport's Unsafe Roof

Most motor vehicle defect attorneys will agree that the 1995 Ford Explorer's unsafe roof is a dangerous product liability. In 2003, 18-year-old Tyler Moody lost control of his 1995 Ford Explorer Sport while passing another car. The SUV left the curved road, rolled at least 1.5 times, and came to rest on its roof, which had collapsed, crushing and killing Tyler.

Tulsa jeweler Kevin Moody and Veronica Moody filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford. The Moody's defective products attorney claimed that the Explorer's roof had "an inadequate roof-crush tolerance," and that Tyler Moody became trapped in the car with the roof pushing his neck into his chest. "He was completely collapsed in a folded position, like you'd fold a jackknife," said the car defect attorney.

Expert witnesses told a jury that the car crash compressed Tyler's body so much that it cut off his breathing. The autopsy listed "positional asphyxiation" as the cause of death. The Moody's auto product liability attorney told the jury that the Explorer's roof collapsed when the vehicle went through what he termed a relatively slow, easy roll.

Ford countered in a written statement: "We're confident that when a jury hears the relevant facts, they will conclude that Ford was not responsible for this tragic accident.'' The attorney for Ford claimed that the car exceeded federal standards. She said there was no doubt that Moody was "a great kid,'' but on the day of the car accident, he made "bad decisions that had fatal consequences.'' She added that Moody was speeding through the curve. A car collision reconstruction expert claimed that Moody was traveling at about 67 mph through a curve where the speed limit was 50 mph, and that the advised speed for the bend was 30 mph.

Nonetheless, the family's product liability attorney argued that Moody's speed was irrelevant to the issue of whether the SUV's roof was defective. In his closing argument, the attorney said the part that gave way was made of "spindly little pieces of metal engineered down to an unacceptable level to save money."

The jurors responded with a $15 million damage award.

Brian Chase, nationally recognized auto defect lawyer, noted, "While product defect lawsuits and the lawsuits we have filed against Ford will not bring loved ones back, they serve to alert the general public about the dangers of poorly designed roofs in Explorers and other SUVs. We also hope that car defect lawsuit costs help pursued car makers like Ford to redesign the roofs of its SUVs to be safer and more crashworthy."

"Regrettably, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only first proposed upgrading its roof strength rule in 2005," said John Bisnar, nationally recognized auto defect lawyer. "Since 1971, the government has required that roofs on cars be able to hold more than 1.5 times the vehicle's weight." (The standard was extended to cover SUVs and pickups in 1991.) "In 2005, NHTSA proposed raising that figure to two times the car's weight. Now, it's considering up to three times -- something car safety advocates have long asked for."

Car makers "build cars as if the roof is never going to touch the ground," says Carl Nash, a former NHTSA official who works as an expert witness in rollover cases against car companies.

"When an SUV rolls, and the roof can't support its weight, you're asking the side pillars by the windshields and between the doors to bear the full weight of the SUV," says John Bisnar. "Raising the roof-strength standard will save thousands of lives annually at a cost of less than what car makers charge us for detailing our cars."

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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