Ford Motor Co. has consented to pay $17.35 million to settle the National Highway Traffic Administration’s complaint that the automaker waited too long to recall 423,000 Ford Escape SUVs that may have been at risk of unintended acceleration. The recall happened last year but not until after the regulator had started a preliminary probe.
The safety issue involved a problem that could compel the sport utility vehicle’s accelerator pedal to remain depressed even after a driver removes his/her foot. According to the safety agency, it discovered evidence that Ford may have been aware of the safety problem earlier but failed to tell the government or customers.
Per federal law, automakers must notify the government about any possible safety problems within five days of discovery. Meantime, despite settling, Ford denies that it violated any laws.
It is important to note that this this does not make the car maker exempt from criminal or civil liability, which means that someone who sustained injures from unintended acceleration involving a Ford Escape SUV may have grounds for an auto defects lawsuit. Please contact The Gilbert Law Group to ask for your free case assessment.
The settlement between NHTSA and Ford is the second time in two moths that an automaker has resolved a dispute with the government rather than fight it out in court. Initially Chrysler Group LLC refused the government’s request to recall 2.7 million Jeeps over worries that the vehicles might be prone to catching fires during rear-end crashes. Eventually, the manufacturer and NHTSA reached a compromise: Chrysler would install trailer-hitch attachments on 1.56 million Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs to provide better protection during accidents.
Another car manufacturer that already has paid more than one fine to NHTSA over unintended acceleration involving sticky gas pedals and ill-fitting floor mats is Toyota. Last year, the automaker consented to pay $17.4M over a floor mat-accelerator entrapment issue involving the Lexus Rx350 crossover vehicle.
Pervious to that, Toyota paid $48.8 million over sticky accelerator pedals, pedals getting stuck in floor mats, and steering relay problems. Toyota was forced to recall millions of vehicles because of this safety issue and victims and their families filed numerous auto products liability and wrongful death lawsuits claiming that they or a loved one was involved in a traffic crash in which a vehicle accelerated to high speeds and would not stop.
At The Gilbert Law Group, our auto defect lawyers represent victims and their families with products liability claims against car manufacturers, sellers, and distributors. We are well-versed in identifying whether a collision was caused by a safety defect. Over the years we have helped plaintiffs and claimants recover the compensation they are owed.
Even if a recall has been issued, if you believe that a car crash was a result of an auto defect or malfunction, you still could have grounds for an auto products liability case. Automakers cannot afford to make products with safety issues because the consequences could be devastating. Not only does coming forward to seek recovery for the harm that you have suffered help you but also bringing the problem to light could save lives. Contact our sudden unintended acceleration lawyers today.