A jury awarded more than $43.7 million to the family of a 74-year-old man who died when his Lincoln Town Car caught fire after it was struck from behind.

The July 2003 accident also severely burned John Jablonskis wife, Dora, 72.

The family of the Florissant, Mo., couple sued Ford Motor Co., the manufacturer of the couples 1993 Lincoln Town Car, alleging the location of the cars fuel tank behind the rear axle caused the fire.

The Madison County jury on Tuesday awarded the family $15 million in punitive damages, $23.1 million for Dora Jablonskis claim and $5.67 million to John Jablonskis estate.

The families attorney, Brad Lakin, told jurors Ford should have warned car owners or retrofitted the vehicles with safety devices.

But Ford attorney Jim Feeney argued that no similar accidents have occurred involving the same Town Car model as the one driven by John Jablonski. Feeney also said the Town Cars fuel tank was in the optimum location for that car.

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