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Ford Settles Defective Explorer Suit for $131 Million

Posted on September 7, 2010

The Ford Motor Co. has been ordered to pay $131 million to the estate of the late baseball player, Brian Cole, who died in an Explorer rollover accident in 2001.

The amount represents a settlement reached before punitive damages were considered by the jury in the trial filed by Cole’s estate.

Cole, 27, was a New York Mets minor league player who was heading home to Mississippi after attending spring training with the Mets in Florida in March 2001. His family says he was ejected from the Ford Explorer during a rollover accident because the car’s seat belt was defective. Cole was traveling more than 80 mph when he drifted off to the side of the road and the vehicle overturned. His cousin was also in the vehicle and awarded $1.5 million for his injuries from the accident. According to Bloomberg, the verdict is the eighth-largest jury award in 2010 and the ninth biggest against an auto company in the U.S.

Ford had argued that Cole was not wearing his seat belt.

When Cole died, he was an outfielder in the AA minor leagues, very close to the majors and had been named player of the year in the Mets organization. The jury considers his earning potential when deciding what amount to award the family.

If you have had a problem with an airbag, a defective seat belt, defective tires, or any mechanical failure of your automobile, you would be well-advised to consult with a Florida auto product liability attorney to help determine to what extent the failure may have contributed to your injuries. An investigation will need to be launched, including research into the past recalls that your vehicle may have bypassed.

When you purchase an automobile, new or used, you are entitled to get all you pay for – a safe functioning car without any product defects. Automakers are responsible for designing and manufacturing automobiles that live up to their promises and promotions.