Ford, Lincoln’s parent company, in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has issued a warning to the owners of approximately 143,000 Lincoln MKC compact SUVs. They have been advised to park their vehicles outdoors and at a safe distance from buildings and other vehicles due to a potential fire risk, even when the SUV is not in operation.
The risk arises from a battery monitoring sensor that, due to its location within the vehicle, may be susceptible to damage when the surrounding battery or electric parts are under maintenance. This damage could induce a short circuit that, owing to the absence of a fuse in the wiring, could escalate into overheating and subsequently, a fire.
The SUVs impacted by this issue are Lincoln MKC models from the years 2015 to 2019. Ford has acknowledged 19 incidents of “potentially related” fires occurring under the hood of MKCs, predominantly in North America, as reported by NHTSA. As of now, Ford has no knowledge of any physical injuries stemming from these fires.
Instructions will be mailed to owners, urging them to park their vehicles outside and away from other cars. In addition, owners will be advised to bring their vehicles to a Lincoln dealership where a fuse will be installed at no cost.
In case of any queries, owners are encouraged to reach out to a Lincoln dealership or dial Ford customer service. They can also visit the SaferCar.gov website managed by NHTSA, enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and verify if their vehicle is included in the recall.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit for Injuries and Substantial Property Losses
When a product, such as a vehicle, does not function as intended and results in harm to a consumer, it can potentially lead to a product liability lawsuit. In the case of the Lincoln MKC SUVs, if a fire occurs due to the identified issue with the battery monitoring sensor, the manufacturer, Ford, may find itself defending against such lawsuits.
Product liability laws vary from country to country and even within regions of the same country. However, in many jurisdictions, it’s not necessary for the consumer to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. Instead, they must typically prove that the product was defective, the defect caused harm, and they used the product as intended.
There are three primary categories of product defects that can lead to a product liability lawsuit: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing (or information) defects.
Design defects refer to inherent flaws in the design of the product. Manufacturing defects occur during the production or assembly of the product. Marketing defects involve inadequate instructions or failures to inform users of potential risks. In the case of the Lincoln MKC, the issue appears to be a design defect, as the battery monitoring sensor’s placement and lack of a fuse in the circuitry could potentially lead to fires.
In a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff (the person who was harmed) seeks damages (typically monetary compensation) from the defendant (the manufacturer). Damages can cover medical costs, loss of income, property damage, and potential pain and suffering. In some cases, if the manufacturer’s behavior is found to be particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
The plaintiff’s lawyer will try to demonstrate that the harm suffered by their client was a direct result of the product’s defect. In response, the manufacturer’s lawyers might argue that the consumer misused the product or that the damage resulted from an unforeseeable event.
In the case of the Lincoln MKC, Ford has taken preemptive action by identifying the problem, warning consumers, and offering to fix the issue at no cost to the owner. This approach could mitigate some legal liability and demonstrates a commitment to customer safety.
However, if any fires do occur and cause harm despite these preventative measures, affected individuals could still choose to file product liability lawsuits. These lawsuits likely focus on whether the design of the vehicle was inherently faulty and whether Ford took sufficient action to rectify the problem and inform consumers.
If a large number of people are affected by the same issue, a class-action lawsuit might be a possibility. In a class-action lawsuit, a group of plaintiffs collectively sues the defendant. This approach can be beneficial when individual damages might be relatively small and not warrant individual lawsuits. However, it’s up to the court to approve a class-action lawsuit.
Product liability lawsuits can be complex legal proceedings that often require expert testimony to establish the presence and cause of product defects. Consumers who believe a product has harmed them should consult a lawyer to understand their options.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Be sure to get the legal help you need for your product injury case. Contact Parker Waichman, LLP today by calling their toll-free number 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529). Their experienced product liability attorneys are standing by to provide a free case evaluation and help you take the first steps toward obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve.
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