Again, despite the availability of simple methods to correct these auto defects, as recommended by defendants' own automotive engineers, the defendants chose to ignore this inherent safety problem
San Bernardino, CA (PRWEB) August 17, 2009
The California personal injury lawyers of Bisnar | Chase (http://www.BestAttorney.com ) have filed a product liability injury lawsuit against Ford Motor Corporation, Continental Tire Corporation, TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Chino Hills Ford, and Beceril Tire Shop. The suit alleges that the 2003 Ford Expedition SUV manufactured by Ford and sold by Chino Hills Ford failed to properly protect Griselda Bernardino during an August 2007 rollover crash that caused her to suffer severe and permanent crushing head and spinal injuries. The rollover also ejected and severely injured Ayari Martinez, Alonso Martinez, Diana and Bianca Orozco (both minors) and Maleni Elizardi (also a minor). The action was brought against the defendants by the aforementioned plaintiffs.
Tire Separation Causes Oversteer, Loss of Control and Rollover
The rollover that precipitated the legal action occurred when Griselda Bernardino, driving within the legal speed limit, lost control of the Ford Expedition after its left rear tire tread separated from the tire. This caused the Expedition to initially veer left, causing Griselda's vehicle to oversteer. At this point, the SUV's tires exceeded their maximum cornering speed, causing the SUV to roll due to its high center of gravity and comparatively narrow track width. As a result, Ayari Martinez, Alonso Martinez, Diana Orozco, Bianca Orozco, and Maleni Elizardi were ejected from the SUV, and other passengers were partially ejected, sustaining major injuries including major lacerations.
"We're alleging that the lateral instability of the Expedition made it highly unlikely that anyone but a professional driver would have been able to regain control of this SUV," said John Bisnar of the Bisnar | Chase auto defects law firm. "We're alleging the blame sits squarely on this SUV's high center of gravity and narrow track width."
Oversteer Problem Correctable with Existing Low-Cost Technology
The plaintiffs note that the Expedition did not have Electronic Stability Control (Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability enhancement system), which plaintiffs contend would have sensed the vehicle's oversteer and automatically adjusted the brakes and throttle to allow Griselda to maintain control.
"Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control system was readily available and offered as an option by Ford in the 2003 Expedition at relatively little additional cost," noted John Bisnar. "AdvanceTrac was touted by Ford as automatically adjusting braking and throttle to match the vehicle's direction to the driver's intention should the system sense an oversteer or understeer condition. It's our contention that had AdvanceTrac been installed in this Expedition, it would have dampened and mitigated the dynamic oscillations and oversteer in the laterally unstable SUV sufficiently to prevent Griselda's loss of control and rollover following her evasive maneuver. AdvanceTrac should have been installed as standard equipment, not offered as an option, given the Expedition's propensity for lateral instability and rollovers."
Defective Roof and Unsafe Restraint Systems Alleged
The plaintiffs also allege that when the Expedition rolled over, the SUV's A, B,C and D pillars, windshield headers and roof rails lacked the strength to withstand the SUV's weight while inverted. This caused a roof crush inward toward the vehicle's occupants, including Alonso Martinez, who suffered severe and permanent head and spinal cord injury.
Plaintiffs further allege that the Expedition suffered from a defective and unsafe restraint system, including seat buckles, seat belts, shoulder belts and retractors. They contend the SUV suffered from false latching, inertial unlatching, inadvertent unlatching, lack of pre tensioners, and retractor failure. The plaintiffs also contend that the defendants knew these parts and systems would fail to restrain an occupant in the event of a rollover and/or side slip/skid accident.
Plaintiffs Say Unsafe Side Windows and No Side Airbags Contributed to Injuries
Defective and unsafe use of tempered glass and glazing deficiencies in the Expedition's side windows, and the lack of side curtain air bags, both contributed to the injuries sustained in the accident, plaintiffs allege. "We're saying that the defendants knew that laminated glass and/or proper glazing would have prevented the total shattering of the side window during the side impact collision, and that serious injuries could have been prevented had this readily available technology been used in this SUV," noted John Bisnar. "It's our belief that since 1970, the defendants knew that the use of tempered side and rear window glass was contributing to serious occupant ejection problems in side impact and rollover accidents."
Defective Door Latch, Unsafe Seat Backs and Defective Tires Alleged
The plaintiffs contend that a defective and unsafe driver's side door latch failed to hold the door onto the SUV during the rollover accident. Also claimed as unsafe and defective were the Expedition's seats and seat backs, which failed to perform during the accident, causing plaintiff Jesus Orozco severe neck and other injury. "Again, despite the availability of simple methods to correct these auto defects, as recommended by defendants' own automotive engineers, the defendants chose to ignore this inherent safety problem," contends John Bisnar.
Additionally, the plaintiffs assert that the Continental ContiTrac SUV tires used on the Expedition were unreasonably dangerous for their intended use on the Expedition by non-professional drivers. The plaintiffs claim that the belts in these tires are improperly placed and spliced in that air or moisture (or both) was trapped between the rubber components during their manufacture. It's further alleged that these tires lack sufficient rubber at the belt edges, and lack sufficient and proper gum edge strips to reduce the hazard of tread belt separation. The plaintiffs allege that defendants knew that safer alternative designs were economically and technologically feasible.
The case is pending in the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga District, case number CIVRS908505.
About Bisnar | Chase
Bisnar | Chase California Auto Defect Attorneys represent people throughout the country who have been very seriously injured or lost a family member due to motor vehicle defects. The law firm has won a variety of challenging auto defect cases against General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler and many of the foreign manufacturers. For more information, read "Still Unsafe At Any Speed: Auto Defects That Cause Wrongful Deaths and Catastrophic Injuries" by Brian Chase and see http://www.ProductDefectNewsAndAdviceBlog.com.
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