Fatal SUV Rollover – Ford pays $8.6 million to victims

Staten Island, New York (JusticeNewsFlash.com – News Report) – The Motelson boy’s were returning from a weekend of camping when their 1998 Ford Explorer accelerated, lost the brakes and rolled many times before coming to a stop off the road. Steven Motelson was killed, as was Gary’s 9-year-son. Another 21-year-old passenger, Gary Motelson and his 5-year-old boy survived, and they have been awarded $8.6 million for suffering they endured.

Although a Staten Island jury declared that Ford Motor Credit Company and Ford Motor Company were not liable for the death of Gary Motelson’s older son or the injuries Motelson and his younger son suffered, this decision was recently reversed. The reason for reversal is due to the defectively designed roof-support system on the SUV, which is found to have caused Steven Motelson’s death. The jury awarded $6.5 million to his widow and estate. But the jury said that the Ford SUV was not to blame for injuries sustained by Gary Motelson and his son, or for the death of his oldest son. Gary Motelson and his son were awarded $3.2 million and $5.4 million respectively for medical and psychiatric care, as well as for past and future pain and suffering. The Judge declared that even though the jurors had found Ford not responsible for the younger boy’s physical injuries, they had “failed to discern the difference” between those injuries and the psychological trauma he endured in witnessing the death of his older brother and grandfather. The judge also awarded $150,000 to Gary Motelson’s wife for loss of consortium.

In the end, Ford is required to pay a total of $13.8 million to the various plaintiffs, in addition to a statutory interest of 9% from the date of the accident to the filing of the lawsuit in 2001. Ford plans to appeal the verdict, and if granted, it will be the largest judgment issued by a Staten Island Court for one single incident.

Legal News Contributor: Justice News Flash New York City Injury Law News Reporter

About the Author Legal Reporter

Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.