A settlement has been obtained by The Ammons Law Firm in a products liability claim against Ford Motor Company. The case involved the rollover of a 1999 Ford Ranger.
The accident occurred when the tire positioned at the right rear of the Ranger experienced a tread separation failure as the vehicle traveled at highway speeds. The driver, an 18-year-old Utah resident, was unable to control the Ranger following the tire disablement. The Ranger began rolling before leaving the roadway, where it came to rest on its passenger side. The young woman sustained multiple blunt force injuries from which she died, leaving her grieving parents behind.
Ford knew years before it built this 1999 Ranger that the vehicle was prone to a reduction in directional control following tread separation of a rear tire. Ford’s own engineers tested and evaluated the Ranger’s handling, rating it as “deficient.” Internally, Ford documented the reduction in directional control using the terms “skate” and “rear-end breakaway” to describe it. Company engineers proposed a number of fixes, including simple relocation of the shock absorbers. Years later, the Ranger was still being sold with the same deficiency. Had the recommended changes been made, the accident in which these parents lost their precious daughter would not have occurred.
Ammons noted that in 2003, NHTSA researchers found through simulation data that drivers of such a Ranger with a tread separated rear tire would lose control some 97% of the time. He further noted that the Ranger was not a stable vehicle even with four sound tires, making it highly prone to rolling over under conditions where directional control over the vehicle has been lost.
“The loss of a child is an indescribable horror, but the settlement is allowing these devastated parents to move forward feeling that, in some small measure, the culpable party has been held responsible.”
The Ammons Law Firm has a nationwide personal injury practice focusing on tire defects, truck accidents, rollovers, consumer protection and product liability, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seat belt defects, airbag defects, and plant explosions.