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ARTICLE ID 44114

- PRODUCTS LIABILITY NEGLIGENCE - DEFECTIVE OR DANGEROUS FRONT SUSPENSION - ALLEGED FRONT SUSPENSION "JACKING" - ROLLOVER INCIDENT - WRONGFUL DEATH - DECEDENT WAS KILLED WHEN HER FORD EXPLORER ROLLED OVER FOLLOWING A HARD TURN TO AVOID COLLISION WITH CAR ENTERING FREEWAY.

Grundy County, Illinois

In this products liability matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s vehicle had a defective front suspension which caused the vehicle to rollover following a hard turn, killing one occupant and seriously injuring others. The defendant denied the allegations of a defective front suspension and blamed driver error for the injuries and death.

On November 2, ________ three college students driving a ________ Ford Explorer where driving to Dwight, Illinois, traveling southbound on Interstate 55. The driver over-steered to the left shoulder attempting to avoid a car entering the freeway. She then overcorrected to the right and then again to the left. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of the abrupt steering changes, the vehicle veered off the road where it rolled over. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and landed in the northbound lane of traffic where she was struck by a northbound vehicle and killed. One other passenger was partially ejected from the vehicle, sustaining spinal cord injuries and the third remained essentially unharmed.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging that the vehicle was defectively designed and dangerous in that the Ford’s front twin I-beam independent suspension caused the left front tire to come off the ground in a hard turn. This is commonly referred to as "front suspension jacking".

The plaintiff sought damages in excessive of $________ for the estate of the deceased girl and injuries sustained by the passenger.

The defendant maintained that there was no defect on the vehicle and that the incident was caused solely as a result of the actions of the decedent/driver. The defendant demonstrated during the trial that the vehicle was not prone to jacking and its stability margin was well rated. The defendant also presented evidence that the vehicle was considered one of the safest vehicles on the road at the time. The defendants argued through testimony that the decedent/driver had made the equivilant of a u-turn at highway speeds which was the result of the vehicle rollover and not any design flaw.

Following a two week trial and five hours of the deliberations, the jury found in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff.

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