Part of a local personal injury case
Ford Motor Company has been hit with a personal injury lawsuit, alleging its 15-passenger van contained known defects, including an “increased propensity to roll over” in certain steering maneuvers or when its weight was altered when carrying more passengers.
According to the 21-page lawsuit filed Monday, Aug. 21 in Platte County Circuit Court, Thang Rung, Hri Tlang and Peng Lian were three of 12 passengers in a 2008 Ford Econoline E-350 van traveling southbound in the left lane of Interstate 29 in Platte County on Jan. 14, 2017.
When the driver, Ca Hnin, attempted a slight curve near the 20.8-mile marker, the vehicle skidded off the left side of the roadway, struck a concrete median and overturned.
Rung’s seatbelt allegedly failed to restrain him in the rollover accident, causing him to be thrown from the van into the left lane of the interstate. Rung sustained a traumatic brain injury and bruising to his chest. Hri suffered a fractured vertebra and Peng sustained injuries to his head, right shoulder and right knee.
Ford Motor Company, the lawsuit contends, knew the Econoline Van lacked controllability during reasonable highway maneuvers, which could cause serious risk or death should the “center of gravity” change with more passengers and weight.
The lawsuit alleges Ford took little or no proactive steps to correct the defects. Instead, the company marketed the van’s ability to safely transport lots of passengers, states the suit.
The origin of the Econoline began about 50 years ago. The first-generation of Econoline Vans were 173 inches long. That’s much smaller than today’s models, which are available in regular or extended lengths.
The lawsuit alleges the current design parameters render the van defective and unreasonably dangerous in emergency situations.
“In the course of developing, testing and manufacturing its 15-passenger vans, including the E350 Van, defendant Ford intentionally failed to document test results which would have demonstrated the inherent instability of the E350 Van,” states the lawsuit submitted by attorney Matthew Blake Heath.
The lawsuit also alleges the company withheld relevant information and destroyed stability and handling evaluations conducted on its 15-passenger vans.
This is not the first lawsuit making these accusations against Ford in this rollover crash. Maung Hnin, 35, of Kansas City, Kan., was also ejected during the accident only he was struck by another vehicle in the left lane of the interstate, where he was killed.
Shwe Aye, the surviving spouse, filed a wrongful death suit against Ford, alleging Maung’s seatbelt failed to restrain him in the rollover accident, causing him to be thrown from the van into oncoming traffic.
The wrongful death lawsuit points out previous court hearings were held regarding the concealment of the 15-passenger van’s stability and its rollover resistance. During one of the hearings, a judge deemed Ford’s conduct as boarding on criminal, states the lawsuit.