Jury Awards $30.4M In Lawsuit Against FordOct 3, 2005 | AP
A Texas jury awarded the family of a Brownsville teenager $30.4 million in damages and medical expenses Monday, finding that Ford Motor Co. was primarily at fault in the death of a 16-year-old who was killed in a March 2004 accident.
The family had sued the automaker, saying the roof of their truck failed to protect Jennifer Garcia in the crash that caused the Ford truck to roll over. The accident occurred as Garcia was traveling with her parents to Corpus Christi in a 1993 Ford F-150 and their truck was struck by a motorist leaving a fruit stand near Sebastian.
Ray Marchan, an attorney for the family, said he hoped the state court lawsuit would result in better products from Ford.
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said Ford products are safe and meet strict government safety standards.
"Our condolences go out to the family, but Miss Garcia died because of the negligence of another driver hitting the Garcia vehicle while traveling at highway speeds," Vokes said in a written statement.
"The lack of physical evidence clearly proved that she was not wearing her seat belt. This is another tragic reminder that seat belts can help save lives only when they are worn," Vokes said.
Marchan said Texas Department of Public Safety reports show the girl was wearing her seat belt.
Ford plans to appeal the jury's decision.
The jury found Ford 90 percent at fault in Garcia's death. She spent 18 days in a coma and later died.