Tuesday 7 September 2010

Ford agrees to $131m settlement after 2001 accident (U.S)

Ford has decided to give a $131m (£85.5m) payment regarding the case involving a ’02 Ford Explorer Sport in a rollover accident. The case involved New York Mets AA player Brian Cole, who was 22, at the time driving the vehicle, who was ejected and killed, and his teenage cousin was hurt. The cousin was awarded $1.5m (£979,000) in the settlement.

Lawyers for the victims said Cole had been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, referring to the physical evidence on his body, but Ford disagreed and pointed out that Cole had been traveling around 80mph at the time of the rollover accident. A jury in Jasper County, Mississippi, found in favor of the claimant this week after two previous trials had ended in hung juries, and Ford settled before the damages phase of the trial was completed.

Ford spokeswoman, Marcey Evans was quoted as saying Cole "was not wearing his safety belt" and noting that the passenger, "who was properly belted, walked away from the accident."

The accident took place on 31st March 2001 on a Florida motorway at the end of the Mets' Spring training season as Cole traveled to see his family in Mississippi. The family filed a lawsuit against Ford in 2002. Their lawyer, Tab Turner, was also lead lawyer in an earlier massive class-action suit against Ford over the allegation that the Explorer was prone to roll over.

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