A jury in California awarded a woman $23.4 million last month in a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. The case arose out of a 2007 freeway accident that left her a quadriplegic. Cynthia Castillo, 40, lost control of her 1997 Ford Explorer on March 23, 2007, after the tread separated from her left-rear tire as she drove on the freeway. The car left the freeway and rolled three times down an embankment. The accident left her legs and most of her body paralyzed, with limited movement in her arms. The woman’s lawyers presented evidence that design faults caused the vehicle to easily lose control when the tire tread separated.
Three witnesses who saw the accident said Castillo’s car immediately began fishtailing when the tread separated. Internal Ford safety documents from the 1980s and 1990s, obtained during the litigation, revealed that the company was aware the vehicle would easily go out of control with a rear tire detread. Engineers found ways to improve the vehicle’s safety, but Ford’s management turned down their recommendations. According to Brian Brandt, who represented the Plaintiff, Ford offered to settle the case prior to trial for $1.2 million. Brian, who practices in Upland California, did a very good job in handling this case.
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