Despite all odds against her, Benetta Buell-Wilson won, and won big against Ford Motor Company in a Ford Explorer rollover. This is proof positive that it is possible to fight a big corporation and win, even after a ten year battle.
The original $369 million trial verdict was staggering; many people called it a record. Those who consider the verdict “too high” should know that Buell-Wilson was paralyzed because of a crushed spine, a direct result of her life altering vehicle rollover. “This memorable verdict was subsequently reduced after a series of appeals by Ford,” outlined Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.
In 2002, Benetta’s Ford Explorer swerved to avoid hitting an object in the road. The sudden swerve caused the vehicle to roll several times, finally resting on its roof. “A major contention in this case was that the design of the Explorer was unstable; in plain language it had a weak roof. In addition, the C pillar behind the front seat and in front of the rear seat was also identified to be defective,” said Monroe.
This is the last of many litigation “wins” for Buell-Wilson; her verdict absolutely final this time, as the US Supreme Court refused to consider Ford Motor Company’s appeal. “The final verdict after all reductions granted by the courts is $82 million. The original verdict included $27.6 million in compensatory damages and just about $340 million in punitive damages,” Monroe explained.
It took a lot of courage and perseverance to fight a multi-billion dollar company for so long; the litigation was important, though, as it made the point that Ford made an unsafe vehicle and should pay for its violation and neglect of the public safety. It was a hard-fought case; the Wilson’s must now get on with their lives and deal with their bills; something they had to do, out-of-pocket, for ten years while awaiting the final verdict.
Years of legal wrangling went by; Buell-Wilson had to pay her usual bills, the out-of-pocket expenses of ongoing therapy, the costs of renovating her home and adapting it for her wheelchair, doctor visits and medication. “They may have considered accessing litigation funding to help them through the rough spots,” Monroe added.
“Contacting a lawsuit financial company with an excellent reputation and qualifying for funding would make waiting for a verdict a lot easier. Lawsuit funding takes away the pressure to settle early and inexpensively,” said Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.