Auto Rollover Accident Lawsuits Result in $18.3M and $21.2M Verdicts

Two separate automobile rollover accident lawsuits, one against Ford Motor Corp. and the other against Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover, resulted in large personal injury awards this month for plaintiffs who were permanently disabled in the crashes.

In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 38-year old Dax Pierson was awarded $18.3 million against Ford Motor Corp. on May 27, 2009. The case was filed over a 2005 accident which left Pierson a quadriplegic after a Ford passenger van rolled over in Iowa.

According to a report in The Contra Costa Times, the accident occurred while Pierson was traveling with his electronic hip-hop band, and the vehicle drove off an icy road and rolled over in a ditch. In the Ford passenger van rollover accident, Pierson’s seat came loose, causing him to hit his head on the roof of the van.

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As a result of the injuries, Pierson lost the use of both legs and most of his arms, ending his ability to sing and play instruments. A federal jury awarded $12.3 million for medical expenses and lost earnings, plus an additional $6 million for pain and suffering, finding that Ford was 100% liable for the injuries.

In a similar rollover lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, former Hong Kong field hockey player, Sukhsagar Pannu of Simi Valley, was awarded $21.1 million on May 18 by Judge Robert H. O’Brien. Pannu, 53, was paralyzed in a 2003 Land Rover Rollover accident, which occurred when his vehicle was sideswiped by a 16-year-old driver.

According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, Judge O’Brien directly cited the Land Rover Discovery sport utility vehicle’s high center of gravity and the construction of its roof as major factors in Pannu’s spinal cord injury, which requires that he receive around-the-clock care from his parents and three children.

The Land Rover brand was previously owned by Ford, however Jaguar Land Rover was recently sold to Indian automaker Tata Motors together with all of its liabilities. Lawyers for Tata Motors say they intend to appeal the product liability lawsuit decision.

The National Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 37 percent of fatal crashes are due to SUV rollover accidents. In 2006, the Insurance Information Institute found that SUVs had the highest occupant fatality rate of any vehicle type in rollover accidents, with a fatality rate of 7.77 per 100,000 registered vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute found that 8,026 occupants of SUVs died in 2006.


  • JimJune 8, 2009 at 1:39 am

    I wish we could get a verdict that gave the guy his legs and arms back. Then he could sing again.

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