Legal Question in Product Liability in Virginia

In November of 2006, I was driving my 2005 Ford F150 pick-up truck, when it suddenly accelerated wide open and I lost control and had a very violent accident. It was about 4 am and I was on my way to meet some friends for a hunting trip. This had also happened the week before on two separate occasions while I had other people in the vehicle with me.I was charged with DWI, wreckless driving, and refusal. I was convicted of wreckless driving and refusal. I also had taken the truck to a local Ford dealership a couple of weeks prior to the accident for repair because occasionally it had tried to engage the 4wheel drive while I was driving down the road at highway speeds.They acknowleged this disturbing noise and told me that they had contacted a Ford tech rep and was told that this was a normal and acceptable condition. They refused to repair the problem even though the truck was still under warranty. I told them that it was not normal since I had been driving the truck since I had bought it new in August of 2005 and it had not occurred before.This has been documented. I never followed up on this and I didn't return it to the dealer for the acceleration problem because of the way they treated me prior. I do have several witnesses who can and will vouch for what I am telling you. One is a former quality assurance specialist who has told me that a lady he had worked with at the Norfolk plant was driving a new vehicle off the line when this vehicle did the same thing and crashed into a wall, totalling the vehicle. I also have 4 other witnesses who were in the vehicle when it took off at full power on it's own. At that time I was able to turn off the ignition before anything happened. I also have another witness who witnessed the accident. I was in a curve travelling 55 mph, (the speed limit), and 2 wheels had gotten off the road. He said he could hear my brakes squealing as the pulsation occurred from the anti-brake locking system as I was trying to stop the vehicle without success. Since I was in a curve, I couldn't get to the ignition key. The truck flipped several times and came to a rest upside down with the roof partially crushed. The people who pulled me out from where the back glass had been also told me that I did not smell of alcohol and that other accidents had occurred in that area. I was taken to the hospital and had head lacerations requiring 9 staples. What can I do if anything about this situation? All the stuff about the Toyota problems has prompted me to follow up on this. Thankyou for your time, Leon Jones

Asked on 3/10/10, 5:21 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

No, I do not see any basis for your recovering anything under the scenario described (unless Ford Motor wished to voluntarily compensate you). Under applicable Virginia law, you would be considered contributorily negligent due to your convictions for reckless driving and refusal arising out of the incident which damaged the truck and therefore barred from recovering anything from the defendant (in my opinion).

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Answered on 3/16/10, 7:52 am

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