Ford Liable in Fatal Brake-Fluid Fire Following Crash

CHARLESTON, W.V. — A local jury determined Ford was liable for the death of a Kanawha County, W.V. woman resulting from a fire caused by a leaking brake-fluid reservoir, awarding her family $7 million, according to a variety of media reports.

The woman was driving her 2014 Ford Mustang when it was hit by a pickup truck and perished in the subsequent fire.

The family’s attorneys argued the brake-fluid reservoir was not adequately protected against damage in the event of a crash, which is what occurred in this 2016 accident. In addition, the attorneys alleged the fire was the result of the brake-fluid leak.

According to one report posted by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, ” The jury found that the brake reservoir’s design was indeed faulty, and led to the leakage that started the fire in the car following the crash. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that the steel used to make the car’s safety cage was not sufficient enough to protect Bumgarner.”

Ford could appeal the decision.

A spokesperson for Ford wrote in an email, “While our sympathies go out to Ms. Baumgarner’s family (the woman killed as a result of the crash) and we respect the jury’s decision, we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence. We will review options for appeal.”

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.