Ford on Trial in California 15-Passenger Van Case

A California 15-passenger van accident lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. is being fought out in civil court. The six plaintiffs are seeking auto products liability compensation over a 2004 van accident.
The vehicle, a Ford Econoline E350,was part of a caravan of church kids and their chaperones when tread separation impacted one of its tires. This caused the van driver Bill Brownell to lose control of the van, which then rolled over several times after he overcorrected. Brownell and passenger Tony Mauro were thrown from the vehicle and died.
Now, the victims that survived the California 15-passenger van accident want Ford to pay. They contend that the automaker knew the van was dangerous but failed to notify customers.
The jury is going to have to assess whether buckled seat belts and a driver tutorial could have saved the lives of Brownell and Mauro, who weren’t wearing safety belts at the time. They will also have to decide whether Ford should have told car dealers that the Goodyear tire was prone to separation and had been recalled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2008.
The plaintiffs have already reached confidential settlements with the other defendants: Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (over the tire defect), Sears, which sold the tire, and Suburban Ford, which was responsible for servicing the van.
Ford has been the target of hundreds of 15-passenger van lawsuits over its Econoline van. It was just last year that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out another advisory warning that if not properly operated and maintained, this Ford van is at high risk of rolling over and crashing. The government cautioned that the vehicle’s tires must be kept properly inflated and look out for signs of wear and tear. The NHTSA also noted that unbalanced or improper loading of the vehicle increases the chances of a rollover crash. The federal safety agency said that only drivers trained to operate a 15-passenger van should drive this one.
15-Passenger Van Accidents
15-passenger vans are more prone to rollover crashes than most other autos. Although the vans are designed to carry 15 passengers and the luggage that can accompany so many occupants, studies show that the more people who get in the vehicle, even without exceeding the passenger limit, the greater the chance that it will roll as the center gravity moves toward the back, dramatically impacting the degree of control the driver is able to have when trying to avoid an accident.
You want to work with an experienced auto products liability law firm that understands the design flaws inherent in 15-passenger vans and knows how to prove they contributed to causing the personal injury or death. Going after a big automaker on your own can be tough, which is why it is important that you retain the services of a 15-passenger van lawyer that has the resources, experience, and ability to protect you and fight for your right to recovery.
Lawsuit continues in fatal crash of big church, Sacramento Bee, October 12, 2011
15-Passenger Van Safety, Public Citizen

More Blog Posts:
$32.2M Goodyear Tire Blowout Verdict Upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court in Deadly 2004 Utah 15-Passenger Van Crash–Again, Product Liability Law Blog, January 10, 2011
15-Passenger Van Lawsuit Filed Against Chrysler and R & J Tire Company Over Woman’s Wrongful Death, Product Liability Law Blog, October 27, 2010
California Rollover Lawsuits: Ford Ordered to Pay Paralyzed Musician $18 Million and Jaguar Land Rover Must Pay Former Field Hockey Player $21.1 Million, Product Liability Law Blog, June 18, 2009


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