Jury: Ford Owes $6 Million to Fla. Man Paralyzed in Crash

July 27, 2007

The Ford Motor Co. should pay $6 million to a Florida man who was paralyzed when the Ford Aerostar van he was in rolled over, a jury ruled Wednesday.

Julian Felipe, of Hialeah, was 17-years-old when he was a passenger in the van his mother was driving to Sarasota for a family vacation in 2002. A tire on the vehicle blew out and the van rolled over and the roof caved in.

Felipe’s neck was broken.

“In the blink of an eye, he went from going on a vacation to having a serious injury,” his attorney, Ervin Gonzalez, of Coral Gables, told The Miami Herald.

According to the lawsuit, Ford knew there was a propensity for vans and trucks to roll over, especially after a tire blew out, and the company failed to provide adequate engineering and safety measures to protect consumers.

After a six-week trial, the six-person jury found that Ford failed to use reasonable care by placing the Aerostar on the market with a defect.

The money awarded is for economic losses, pain and suffering and loss of potential income.

A spokeswoman for Ford said the company will appeal.

“This was a tragic and severe accident,” Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said. “However, there was no credible evidence introduced at trial to support a jury finding that a vehicle defect caused Mr. Felipe’s injury.”

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