Safety Optional on Ford Expedition


On November 15, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a product liability wrongful death suit judgment in favor of Ford Motor Company. The lawsuit charged that the company’s Expedition is a defective automobile because it has a “large and unreasonably dangerous blind spot immediately behind the vehicle,” and that a reverse sensing system should be mandatory safety equipment to protect children and others walking behind the vehicle.

The case stems from the summer 2003 death of a 3-year-old boy who was walking through a parking lot. The boy was walking through the parking lot by himself as his father paid for the sno-cones and his mother waited in the car. The driver of the Expedition checked the vehicle’s rear- and side-view mirrors, but did not see the boy and backed over him.

In response to the charges that its vehicle was unsafe, Ford argued that the Expedition was in full compliance with federal safety standards. They also argued that an optional reverse sensing system existed and was known to the driver, but had not been purchased. Therefore, Ford said, it could not be held responsible for the death of the young boy.

Does this then mean that all purchasers of a vehicle should be expected to purchase optional equipment to make their automobile safe? This certainly seems a profitable conclusion to the case for Ford Motor Company. Not only do they not have to pay for their design errors in the case of this vehicle, but they can expect to sell more options to those people who feel a responsibility to protect children and other pedestrians from wrongful death around their vehicles. Do not let Ford or other automobile manufacturers profit from this state of affairs. Rather than purchasing the safety equipment separately, refuse to buy a vehicle that is not equipped with adequate safety equipment.

If you or someone you love has been hurt or injured in a motor vehicle accident, do not be satisfied if the manufacturer claims the vehicle is adequately designed, if you know it is not. Contact today to get in touch with a local product liability lawyer who can make the manufacturer take responsibility for their mistakes.