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An Indiana jury on Tuesday ruled that Ford Motor Co. wasn’t responsible for the death of a youth pastor in the 2001 rollover of an Explorer sport utility vehicle, according to a Bloomberg Business News report and the Detroit News.

Richard Bourke, 20, died in a horrific accident when he drifted off the road and lost control when attempting to steer back onto the highway, according to the report. The 2000 Explorer then rolled over, ejecting him.

Bourke’s widow, Anna, sued Ford, stating that the Explorer is “inherently unstable” and should have had electronic stability control, which would have helped her husband steer back onto the roadway and regain control of the vehicle.

Lawyers for Ford argued that the sport utility vehicle was not defective and apparently the federal court jury agreed. That said, this is one of hundreds lawsuits the company is facing over similar incidents involving Ford Explorer rollovers.

The Bloomberg article quoted a Ford spokeswoman stating that the “accident was due entirely to driver error” and that “Mr. Bourke fell asleep at the wheel.”

I wasn’t at that trial and don’t know the facts of the case. But I know this for sure – the hundreds of lawsuits filed against Ford, specifically regarding the Explorer model, are certainly not without merit.

We have represented numerous clients who have suffered serious injuries due to rollover accidents wherein they either were ejected from the vehicle or the roof of the vehicle crushed in and injured them, some fatally. Many vehicles, especially SUVs and pick-up trucks have known weak roofs and crush in during rollover accidents. Some auto manufacturers, Ford included, have installed an old style, less expensive, seat belt buckle that can and does give way during accidents.

Ford Explorer SUVs, from 1999 to 2001 model years, do not meet a crucial safety requirement intended to protect passengers in rollover crashes. This was further validated by a safety engineering firm we regularly call upon as expert witnesses in our Ford and SUV rollover cases.

They have found that a substantial number of these SUVs likely do not comply with the federal vehicle roof strength standard. Many Ford Explorer SUVs, from the 1999 to 2001 model years, do not meet a crucial safety requirement intended to protect passengers in rollover crashes according to the same safety engineering firm.

Our research, our testing, our experts’ opinions and our clients’ catastrophic losses – everything points to one conclusion — the Ford Explorer is a dangerous vehicle, prone to rolling over in accidents and seriously injuring its occupants.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, give us a call, especially if there is a chance that a manufacturer defect may have caused, contributed to or failed to prevent a serious injury. You may be entitled to more than you think! We may be able le to help you hold Ford or another auto maker accountable for their negligence and your loss.

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