According to a Dec. 4 press release, the trial in the civil lawsuit on behalf of Gloria Levesque has begun in Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District, before the Honorable Ricardo Torres. The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 8, 2005, and alleges that the defendant, Ford Motor Company, knowingly manufactured and sold its Expedition model SUV with a defective roof that collapses in rollover accidents.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ford manipulates the general public into believing that large SUVs like their Expedition are safer than other vehicles, at the same time knowing their SUVs have one of the highest rates of rollover accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths. The motive, the suit alleges, is Ford Motor Company’s “financial interest.”

In the July 25, 2003, accident that left Levesque disabled, she was a passenger in the Expedition. The vehicle was traveling southbound on Interstate 5 in Fresno County, Calif., when the driver swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle. She lost control of the Expedition, which left the roadway, rolling several times. The roof of the Expedition collapsed during the rollover, leaving Levesque with severe head and spinal injuries. Levesque, a school teacher, was left unemployed, paralyzed and permanently disabled as a result of the rollover accident.

According to the website, it’s not unusual for the roofs of SUVs, trucks and vans to collapse in a rollover accident, leaving the vehicle occupants severely injured. The roofs collapse because the roof pillars, roof headers and supports are weak in comparison to the weight of the vehicle.

More specifically, the roof of the Ford Expedition will crush from just the weight of the vehicle alone. Add to that a rollover at highway speeds, and the outcome will likely be catastrophic. When one of these vehicles rolls over, the roof supports collapse into the interior of the vehicle, striking the occupants with enough force to cause head and spinal cord injures and death.

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