A Ford Explorer trial involving a young woman, who suffered spine injuries in an accident involving a Ford Explorer, began in DeKalb County last week. Jessica Mundy, who was 22 years old when the accident took place, is claiming damages from Ford, alleging that a transmission design defect in her Explorer caused the SUV to suddenly shift from park to reverse. The accident left Mundy a quadriplegic.
Mundy claims she put her car in park, and got out to mail a package. The car ran over her, leaving her with a fractured spine. In January 2005, Ford had issued a repair service bulletin involving a transmission problem, and the alert covered a number of vehicles, including Mundy’s SUV. Her lawyer insists that the transmission repair which was conducted on her Explorer, could have contributed to the problem. The bulletin at the time warned owners, that transmission fluid could lead to their vehicles experiencing “delayed/harsh reverse engagements,” and asked owners to get a transmission fluid additive installed to correct the problem at their dealer. Another letter sent on April 2005 again reminded vehicle owners that if the vehicles were left to operate with the original factory-installed fluid, the danger of transmission shifting would actually increase.
More than 200 Ford owners have complained to the National Highway Transport Safety Administration about the transmission defect in the Explorer. In most of the complaints, there is a delay when the Explorer is shifted from park to reverse or from another gear to reverse. Other complaints have involved the vehicle slipping from park to gear, although Ford continues to deny that the complaints say any such thing.
The complaints filed with the NHTSA also report potentially serious accidents that have occurred because of the transmission defect. One complaint involves a child trapped under the vehicle when the Explorer started rolling in neutral. Other complaints call the Explorer a “public hazard” and insist that Ford was “doing absolutely nothing about it”.
This does concern Georgia personal injury lawyers. The Explorer in particular, has been linked to several safety risks. The SUV has been linked to a higher incidence of rollovers caused due to Firestone tire failures. In 2001, the company settled a lawsuit with a Texas woman who was paralyzed after an Explorer accident caused by a tire blowout, but the vehicles were never recalled.