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Ford SUV Rollover Lawsuit: Jury Awards Baseball Players Family $131 Million

A jury has awarded the family of Brian Cole $131 million in their SUV rollover lawsuit against Ford for his wrongful death. Cole, a 22-year-old top prospect for the New York Mets, died on March 31, 2001 after he was thrown from his 2001 Ford Explorer on Interstate 10 close to Florida Highway 286. The punitive damages portion of the case was settled for an undisclosed amount. The jury also awarded $1.5 million to Ryan Cole, Cole’s cousin who was injured during the single car crash.
This is the third time that Cole’s family has sought to obtain auto products liability compensation against Ford. Two other trials had ended in hung juries.
According to the Mississippi sport utility vehicle rollover complaint, Cole’s SUV rolled over when he veered the car to avoid striking another auto. Cole’s family contends that he died because that particular Explorer model was at risk of rolling over and had a seat belt that was defective.
Ford had argued that Cole was speeding at over 80 mph when he “turned his steering wheel 295 degrees” to lose control of the auto. They also claimed Cole was thrown from the vehicle when it rolled over because he was not using his seat belt. Ford contends that it was denied a fair trial because certain evidence involving the wrongful death case was kept out.
SUV Rollovers
Thousands are injured and killed in rollover crashes each year. Many of these tragic SUV rollover crashes are a result of negligence on an automaker’s part. There are many vehicles out there that lack the proper safety features necessary to protect car occupants during a rollover crash. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, roof crush-related injuries, and injuries from being thrown from the SUV are not uncommon. In addition to design and safety defects, other auto defects that can cause serious injuries or death to vehicle occupants during an SUV rollover include seat belt defects, airbag defects, seatback failures, poorly structured vehicle rooftops, tire flaws, and window defects.
Brian Cole’s family awarded $131 million in lawsuit, NBC Sports, September 2, 2010
$132M awarded in ’01 crash, ClarionLedger, September 3, 2010
Lawyer: Ford, family settle in player crash death, Google/AP, September 2, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Rollover, Frontline, PBS
Rollover, Safercar.gov

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