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Ford named in wrongful death suit involving limo fire

Litigation continues in the aftermath of a deadly limousine fire that killed five women on the San Mateo Bridge in California in 2013. Although other victims and family members have settled out of court, a lawsuit filed by the husband of a 43-year-old woman who died in the accident claims that Ford Motor Co. knew about the vehicle's potentially deadly defect.

His lawyer alleges that Ford was aware that the 1999 Lincoln Town Car that had been converted to a limousine could experience a catastrophic failure. The deadly fire started when the vehicle's suspension failed and allowed the drivetrain to scrape against the undercarriage. The resulting sparks ignited a fire in the passenger cabin.

In response, a representative from Ford blamed the fire on the misuse of the vehicle. The California Public Utilities Commission had approved the limousine to carry a driver and up to eight people. The limousine conversion had been done by another company, and the vehicle had been used for over 10 years and often transported up to 10 passengers. On the day of the fatal fire, nine passengers occupied the cabin. Because of actions outside of Ford's control, the automaker plans to dispute the claims in the lawsuit.

Regardless of the outcome, this case illustrates how a person might pursue compensation from a party responsible for the death of a loved one. A person who suspects that the negligence of an individual or company caused a family member's death could ask an attorney about the potential of recovering damages with a wrongful death lawsuit. Such civil actions typically seek compensation for lost household income, funeral expenses and other amounts.

Source: Mercury News, "San Mateo Bridge Limo Fire: Ford Faces Wrongful-Death Trial in Blaze That Killed Five Nurses", May 10, 2016

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