Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 18, 2020

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A Georgia jury recently awarded a car accident victim $40 million after her 2004 Ford Explorer came out of park, ran her over and left her paralyzed. The jury apparently wanted to send Ford a message as $30 million of that award were for punitive damages.

Defective Ford Explorers

According to an article in the Atlanta Constitution, then 23 year old accountant Jessica Mundy, was driving her 2004 Ford Explorer. She stopped to mail a package and put the vehicle in park. However, as she was walking away from the Explorer, it came out of gear, ran her over and fractured her spine. She was left paralyzed.

Georgia product liability lawsuit

Mundy filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford alleging that the vehicle was defective. At trial, her Georgia car accident attorney was able to show the jury that Mundy may not have been the only one to have had this problem by providing evidence that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched an investigation into consumer complaints that some Ford Explorers and some of the automaker’s Mercury Mountaineers made over a three year period from 2002 to 2005 also unexpectedly come out of park. In fact, her lawyer was able to track down three other people who experienced the same problem and admitted that information into evidence at the trial.

Ford basically claimed that Mundy’s vehicle was not defective and that she must have been negligent in the way she was operating it. The jury clearly disagreed with Ford as it awarded Mundy $30 million in punitive damages against the car giant. Also awarded were $9 million in compensatory damages to Mundy herself and another $1 million to her husband’ $40 million in total.

If you’ve been injured by a defective product, contact an experienced products liability lawyer to discuss your situation and evaluate your options.