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Mark Force, while driving a ’93 Escort, was hit by a Ford Mustang on July 1, 1996. His seat belt, which had a motorized shoulder belt and a manual lap belt, did not work properly.

The lap band locked but the motorized shoulder belt failed to restrain him. He was thrown forward and slammed into a roof post on the left hand side of the car. Force suffered a severe head injury. Apparently 10 inches of the shoulder belt unraveled during the accident. During 1993 Ford and Mazda marketed cars without web grabbers, which prevent the belt from uncoiling.

The first trial in 2003 ended in a defense verdict, but the jury in the Florida court had been instructed wrong and the second ended in a hung jury. During the third trial, according to Lawyers USA, the jury found Ford and Mazda negligent for marketing the ’93 Escort with a defective restraint system. Francis Force, Mark’s legal guardian, was awarded $1.6 million in lost earnings and $ 22 million for pain and suffering.

Our firm, Hajek, Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis, & Appleton, has found that cases often get better the 2nd time around. The plaintiff can figure out all of the defendant’s moves and fine tune the damages and liability evidence. This advantage may be especially true in products liability lawsuits, as the manufacturer has a harder time obstructing discovery over time.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.

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