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On 10-31-13 my 22 year old son was involved in a serious high speed read end accident. He was sitting at a red light when hit by a Toyota SUV going between 45-50 MPH.

My son's airbag did not go off (maybe they are not designed to go off when hit in the rear?)

but even worse he hit the steering wheel and cut his forehead open. He ended up in the hospital where he required 21 sutures to close his laceration. We have hired a law firm as the woman that hit him was sick and should not have been driving. Heres the kicker- We were advised that a lawsuit against Ford would be very expensive and could drag on 5-6 years.

My son did not obtain life threatening injuries so it is not an option to file suit against Ford.

I contacted Ford yesterday to report the incident and I spoke with Julie who was very nice and took all the accident information from me and advised that she would be forwarding the information to the legal department. I was advised that I should be hearing from them in about two weeks via mail. I discussed the fact that my son purchased his very first new car and just recently moved into his first apartment and now he is missing work and is very concerned that he is not going back to work for at least two weeks. He was seen yesterday my a Dr and was informed that he has a serious neck and back injury.

How does this happen with a brand new car? My son could have been killed in this new car. My son did everything right, had a seat belt on and he still was seriously hurt. He paid around $20,000 for this car 11 months ago, has made 11 payments at just over $4000, put $1500 down and owes $17,400.

The insurance company is going to pay off just about $14,500 so he is $3000 negative on a car that could have got him killed.

Lets see what Ford Motor Company is going to do to make this unfortunate situation better. Will keep posting updates.

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Chula Vista, California, United States #1022418

Air bags do not go off in read end accidents, as the censors for the bags depend on frontal or side impact. No car has rear sensors for air bags. You should be suing the driver, not complaining about Ford.

Simpsonville, South Carolina, United States #964958

This is an old post and I'm sure the OP has settled with the driver who hit her son long ago. However, I felt compelled to comment anyway.

First and foremost I am happy that there were life threatening injuries. I hope the OP's son had a quick recovery.

With that said, I find the OP's opinion of the car and quick intent to file suit against Ford utterly outrageous. I am an insurance adjuster and I commonly see the litigious side of society.

While my job is to protect the interests of my company and our shareholders, a facet of my job is making sure policyholders are treated fairly, with respect, and that claims are settled in a quick and efficient manner in the best interests of those involved. Insurance is a tool to make you "whole" meaning that if pre-accident you drive a vehicle worth $14,500 I need to compensate you what your vehicle was worth.

The OP states that her son was sitting stationary at a stoplight and was hit from behind by a Toyota SUV. While she does not identify the SUV in question, based on the photo it can be discerned as a first generation Toyota Highlander (2001 - 2007).

This vehicle has a curb weight of a little over 4,500 pounds when fully equipped. If the vehicle were traveling at a speed of 45 - 50 MPH, based on the laws of physics, that would be around 594,000 foot pounds of force slamming into the back of the Focus.

The picture of the Focus is limited and a bit dark, however it appears that the bumper structure and spare tire well took the brunt of the impact and dissipated those forces throughout the vehicle's safety cage. There is some sheet metal damage on the rear passenger's side of the vehicle, however both rear doors open evidencing that the overall structure of the vehicle was not compromised.

For this particular crash, this Focus responded superbly.

I do question whether or not the Toyota Highlander was in fact going 45-50 MPH. The damage to the Focus is not consistent with being hit by 297 tons of force. If I were to make an educated guess, I would estimate the Highlander's speed at 28-32 MPH.

I of course have nothing other than my years of experience to base this on.

Another serious question is the use of the seatbelt. While I accept the OP at face value that her son was in fact wearing a seatbelt, however the seatbelt pretensioner should have fired initially taking up any slack in the belt and then slowly "feeding" out the belt webbing for a controlled movement of the driver. Contact with the steering wheel should have never occurred.

Regarding the value of the Focus, based on the photo it is evident that the vehicle has plastic wheel covers. With plastic wheel covers, this would make this model a Focus S or at the most, a low-level equipped Focus SE. Based on the book value of the Ford Focus on 10/31/13, I would say that the value offered of $14,500 exceeded CCC One's (an industry standard insurance valuation program) by at least $500. The driver of the Focus should have been compensated the value of his vehicle, had all of his accident related medical bills paid, provided a rental, paid for lost wages, and received some compensation for pain and suffering (based on his state's guidelines and the at fault driver's limits of liability).

The OP states that there were back and neck injuries in addition to the nasty laceration. Depending on the severity of those back and neck injuries, I would say that this is a $20-$40,000 claim.

Best wishes to all involved!

to GettyEM Simpsonville, South Carolina, United States #964959

I'm happy that there were NO life threatening injuries!

to GettyEM Reardan, Washington, United States #1029488

NOPE, NOPE! No takebacks buddy.

Don't backpedal. You don't want to be seen as a flipflopper.

Buckeye, Arizona, United States #895177

Listen Mr anonymous- do you work for Ford?

You are a disgrace to sociatal normalcy. Move on- and ya, go buy a Ford if you are such a fan.

to jenradkeusa #895227

Your son was in an accident, in a small car vs an SUV. Any car the size of the Focus would have at least the same results, if not worse. The best thing you can do is be thankful he's even alive, the only reason being because they engineered it so well for rear-end collisions.

to jenradkeusa Orange, California, United States #910247

Are you six years old? Only a six year old would ASSume that because someone has a valid point and tells the OP they are wrong that they work for the company.

You use words like ya so you must be six years old. The point remains the mother is more concerned about a law suit than her own son. She could not care less if he lived or died, she cares about money.

She should be more concerned on saving her son's life than the lawsuit. She sickens me.

Buckeye, Arizona, United States #894444

Why don't you get into the same exact car and I will hit your judgemental piece of *** *** and we will see how you fare- then we will talk.

Other then that get a life and shut up that I should be grateful my son is alive-

I hope as a parent you would do anything for your child.

We did not sue Ford and we know who's fault it was. Get the pint of the story and let me get back to my Bronco game.

And my son is doing well. Thanks for asking loser

to jenradkeusa #1102145

It's shameful how you posted gruesome photos in a desperate attempt to gain money for YOURSELF. Nauseating!


Interestingly, all of this report is addressing the car and what you think (wish?) it had done. I don't see much about who should really be blamed here.

Why isn't anyone talking about the real cause of the injuries - the driver of the SUV. That's where all of the blame lies yet everyone seems to be trying to blame Ford.

I mean, he was rear ended by an SUV going 50 miles an hour. It's amazing he survived at all.

The Focus was actually pretty impressive and should be thanked for saving his life.

Admit it, you're trying to get money from Ford because they have deeper pockets.

Just be thankful your son is alive.


The negative equity in these cars will kill you with a heart attack! Plus Ford refuses to offer gap for them.

One more way for Ford to stick it to you.

I am terrified of getting into an accident with my 2012 Focus and this just reinforces it. Sorry about your son, hope he gets better soon.


The insurance company offer for pay off is just that, an offer. Check Kelly Blue Book, NADA and the Black book values for the car in its pre-crash condition, get a price from a couple of new and/or used car dealers (what they would sell it for, to you) Put the information together and send it to the insurance adjuster assigned.

If they refuse to budge, resend the letter with your State approved form from your Insurance Commissioner. File the form as a complaint against the Insurance Company's Bad Faith by means of not negotiating.

Your son will have to go after the other vehicle insurance for medical bills, lost work and pain & suffering. If the other guy is under-insured, your son's insurance may be responsible to pay because of the 'under insured motor vehicle' claus. If you have to hire a lawyer, their fees are negotiable also.

Offer to pay, on a contingency basis at a rate of 30% on the first $20k, with a sliding scale down to 10% on all money over $100k. Shop your lawyers.

to Bill B #738931

Bill thank you so much for your help and the information. My kiddo is doing as good as expected.

I really appreciate it. Its a very frustrating experience for the entire family. I'm a mom and I am a nurse so my instincts are to be so so protective yet upset at this entire situation.

Thank you for your reply- We are doing everything we can do right now and we just hope for the best. Thx again

to Bill B Buckeye, Arizona, United States #754411

Thx for the info Bill. It's been 5 weeks and my son just returned back to work last Wednesday. Still haven't heard much but I appreciate the advice.


I agree that you have to be thankful that your son is alive, and hopefully won't suffer from ongoing medical issues. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens on a daily basis all around the country/world. :(

Unfortunately, most people don't understand that insurance (even full-coverage) only covers up to the 'value' of the vehicle, not the amount owed. (Most cars depreciate quite a bit as soon as they leave the lot. Sad, but true.) GAP insurance, to cover the difference of the two, used to be offered, but I honestly don't know if that's even promoted anymore. Long story short, you'll almost always lose money on a car.

As for the medical payments, the insurance companies will have to fight it out between them, as to who pays for what.

I wish you luck in your lawsuit. Just keep in mind that you may end up fighting a losing battle. Know when to quit, before spending/losing a fortune. I used to work in a dealership and have seen this before - yes, this type of thing went on for many years. :(

Hope your son makes a full and speedy recovery. :)

to Zee Buckeye, Arizona, United States #738933

Thank you so very much for your kind comments. I just read a comment that my son should be thanking Ford for not having worse injuries and that is quite insulting as my son always has his seat belt on and is about the most responsible young man I know.

Anyway, thank you I really appreciate your time. I hope you check back so I can update the situation.


If he was rear-ended by an SUV at that rate of speed and those are the only injuries he got, you should be THANKING Ford. The airbag is not designed to go off in a rear-end collision because it would do more harm than good in that situation (It would have been deflated already by the time he hit the wheel).

I have a friend who was hit in a similar accident, though it was their entire family in a large SUV, who received far more major injuries which lasted well over a year after the accident. The fact that he made it off that well in a Focus is simply amazing engineering.

to wr400f250 Buckeye, Arizona, United States #738935

Thank you for taking time to comment but really, had he not had his seat belt on I am quite certain he would have went through the windshield at the high rate he was hit. I have already contacted Ford and sent the information and they stated on the phone that a seat belt should protect a person from hitting the wheel (wish I would have got that on tape) and really if you think about it nobody should hit the wheel period.

Yes I am fortunate it could have been a lot worse but he has suffered a severe neck injury and maybe that would have happened in any car with being hit that hard but if you research you will see that the seat belt did not operate properly. It is simple information to obtain and we put our trust in the car companies to keep us as safe as possible and I do not believe that he was protected like he should have been.


Are you SURE he was wearing his seatbelt or simply taking his word for it? Are you sure he was wearing it PROPERLY? (I have a brother who likes to slip the shoulder-part of the harness under his arm, which is a no-no as far as safety.)

Driver-side front airbags will ONLY deploy in a FRONT END impact. Seatbelts, on the other hand, have an automatic tensioner that's designed to hold you firmly upright in most sudden impacts to keep you from then hitting your own steering wheel. I was hit from behind once (while I was driving a Ford Escape, not a Focus) at a very low speed and the seatbelt "grabbed" me even then. If you can prove (i.e., hire an expert at your own initial expense to check the systems) that the seatbelt failed to hold him against the seat, then you may have a case.

And it sounds like he went cheap on the insurance and didn't get adequate coverage. If he had inadequate insurance for a BRAND NEW CAR, that's HIS fault and not Ford's. Definitely sue the driver of the car that hit him and hope SHE has adequate coverage to cover all his medical bills AND repairs to his vehicle. Actually, that's what YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER is supposed to do. Beyond that, you'll likely have to sue for the loss of income and other expenses.

to Parker Buckeye, Arizona, United States #738939

Hello Parker,

First of all we have 100/300 coverage, the highest you can have to my knowledge and always have had the maximum coverage. What that has to do right now with his injuries is questionable.

The insurance company has offered a fair price because yes, these new cars do depreciate and everyone knows that. It just sucks. Yes he was wearing his seatbelt properly, his father is a federal police officer, I'm a nurse and we have NEVER, never not worn a seat belt. We are not looking for some huge monetary settlement whatsoever- I simply called Ford to report the malfunction and I HOPE they offer some sort of resolution and except what happened here.

We do have representation and are going ahead with going after the driver for the multiple loss he has already sustained- We just want our son to be compensated for his loss of income, down payment and car payments made and of course medical. Everyone deserves that when their life gets turned upside down and they suffer from an unfortunate accident.

Thx for taking time to respond. I hope for the best.

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