Ford Motor Company and Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC have agreed to a settlement on behalf of a severely injured client. The case arose out of a three-vehicle crash on a major interstate just north of Kansas City, Missouri. The vehicles encountered black ice on an overpass and spun out of control. As the vehicles exited the interstate they struck a guard rail. One of the vehicles, a 2002 Ford Econoline Van, overrode the guardrail and a portion of the guardrail punctured the fuel tank. After the van came to rest, gasoline poured out of the punctured fuel tank, puddling under the van. A few moments later, our client’s vehicle hit the same patch of black ice and spun into the Econoline van, igniting the pool of gasoline. Our client was unable to free himself from his burning vehicle and was removed by members of the Kansas City Fire Department. As a result of his severe burns, both our client’s legs were amputated.
The 2002 Econoline’s fuel tank extended a few inches below the frame rail and was not shielded. Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC alleged that this vulnerable location and the failure to properly shield the tank were defects in the design of the van. In the discovery phase, Ford denied conducting puncture resistance testing during the design and development of the subject fuel tank. However, after an exhaustive review of court files from a prior Ford fire case, attorney Brad Kuhlman discovered Ford had concealed documents. In light of Ford’s misrepresentations, Kuhlman & Lucas attorneys filed a motion for sanctions with the court and were granted over $30,000 in sanctions. The case settled for a confidential amount shortly after the court ordered sanctions against Ford.
Brad Kuhlman of Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC and Leah Mason of Edelman & Thompson represented the client.