Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Was Ford recall an attempt to deflect liability?

It's been close to eight years since a Pennsylvania woman was killed when her Ford Escape accelerated out of control and was involved in a fatal accident. This has been only one of many products liability lawsuits involving the Ford Escape.

Ford settled the above accident without admitting liability for what occurred. In fact, it wasn't until 2012, after another fatal accident, that Ford finally admitted that an acceleration problem with the Ford Escape did exist. Ford has since that time recalled more than 500,000 Escapes for the years of 2001 to 2004, and Mazda likewise recalled 200,000 Tributes for the years 2001 to 2008 concerning a very similar problem.

Corporations often will conduct extraordinary and sometimes very expensive actions rather than admit liability concerning a defective product. Ford has implemented a variety of repairs on the Ford Escape models, but these repairs never resolved the problem. Worse, Ford would sometimes attempt to label the problem as brand new rather than one that had been recurring for a number of years.

Though steps will be sometimes be made by corporations to compensate victims injured by such defective products, the same accidents nevertheless occur again. One attorney that represented victims in Ford accidents has seen the exact same scenario occur in two different crashes with approximately seven years separating the two accidents.

It appears that Ford may have been aware of acceleration problems occurring as early as 2005. If not for the adverse publicity brought on by so many products liability lawsuit, Ford may never have admitted any problem existed to begin with.

The reason why products liability lawsuits exist is because corporations so often will place reputation and profit above safety. Yet when the same kind of accident occurs over and over again, corporations have a duty to act.

Source: ABC 15, "Years of lawsuits and complaints raise new questions about Ford Escape recall," by Joe Ducey, August 26, 2012

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