The Ford Motor Company has been hit with a $1.7 billion verdict for an F-250 pickup truck roof collapse. The rollover accident killed an elderly couple in 2014.
The jury endorsed the argument made by the plaintiff that Ford was aware of the roof problem. In fact, the company had been aware of the issue for years prior to the incident and showed a lack of effort in fixing the design flaw.
The accident that started the lawsuit
In April 2014, Georgia couple Melvin and Voncille Hill were killed in an accident when their Ford F-250 pickup truck rolled over. The roof of their vehicle collapsed in on itself during the rollover, which caused their deaths.
Following the accident, Kim and Adam Hill, the children of the couple, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ford. The couple’s children cited that the defective roofs on Ford’s pickup trucks were responsible for the death of their parents.
The Ford F-250 trial
The attorney representing the plaintiff provided evidence showing that the F-250 pickups made in the 17 model years prior to 2017 all posed a risk to drivers and passengers in the event of a rollover. Approximately 5.2 million trucks have been manufactured with this weakened roof structure.
Additionally, evidence at the trial showed that the accident was survivable had it not been for the roof collapsing. The structural issues are what caused the injuries that led to the deaths of Melvin and Voncile Hill.
Current status of Hill v. Ford Motor Co.
- The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff awarding the Hill family with $1.7 billion in punitive damages from Ford.
- If punitive damages are upheld by the higher courts, the plaintiff will only receive 25% of the awarded amount, due to Georgia law in which the state gets 75% of the amount granted by courts. For the plaintiff to receive the full amount of punitive damages, the two sides would have to reach a settlement.
- Ford has revealed that they will appeal the verdict ordering them to pay the $1.7 billion.
A spokesperson for Ford said, “While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we don’t believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal.” Defense attorneys representing Ford reject the allegations that the company willfully made manufacturing decisions that put customers at risk.
Have other Ford truck owners been affected by the same issue?
The plaintiff’s legal representatives stated, “More deaths and severe injuries are certain because millions of these trucks are on the road.” During the trial, nearly 80 similar rollover wrecks involving truck roofs being crushed or killing passengers were submitted as evidence by the attorneys representing the plaintiff.
While the accident that sparked this case involved a Ford F-250 pickup truck, the best-selling Ford F-150 pickup trucks made before the model year 2009 have a very similar roof design. This is a concerning implication, considering that there are millions of F-150s on the road with a similar roof design.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Ford F-250, Ford-F-150, or another type of motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own, call us. Our compassionate car accident attorneys are equipped to help with your unique case. Call 866-388-1307 for a free consultation today.