Ford Authority

1998 Ford Expedition Owner Awarded $57M In Lawsuit

Like most automakers (and large companies in general) Ford faces its fair share of lawsuits on a regular basis, centered around topics ranging from workplace issues to mechanical problems and even injuries or deaths. The Ford Expedition has been the subject of more than one lawsuit in recent years as well, and now, one of those legal cases has resulted in a big payout for the owner of a 1998 model year SUV.

1998 Ford Expedition - Exterior 001 - Front Three Quarters

According to Car Complaints, Ford has been ordered to pay $57 million dollars to the plaintiff in the lawsuit Lorelle Thompson v. Ford Motor Company, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. This lawsuit was originally filed back in 2018, claiming that Thompson – the owner of the 1998 Ford Expedition – ran into a mailbox in 2016, after which she reportedly put the vehicle in park and exited it to survey the damage. However, that’s when disaster struck.

“When she stepped onto the ground, she slipped and fell on her back, with her left leg positioned behind the vehicle’s front left wheel,” the lawsuit reads. “The vehicle then unexpectedly self-shifted into powered reverse and began to roll backwards. The vehicle rolled over plaintiff’s left leg, resulting in fractures to her tibia and fibula.” The lawsuit claimed that this was the result of a “park-to-reverse” defect, which happens “when there is inadequate mechanical force (‘detenting force’) to ensure that a vehicle always defaults into an intended gear position (such as park or reverse) when an operator inadvertently does not fully shift into the very center of the intended gear position.”

1998 Ford Expedition - Exterior 003 - Front And Rear

The original lawsuit was dismissed in 2019 without prejudice, which allowed the plaintiff to take additional action. That’s precisely what she did, and this time around, the jury sided with Thompson and placed 100 percent of the blame for this incident on Ford, awarding her $57 million for her troubles. It’s unclear at this time if Ford plans to appeal the decision, however.

We’ll have more on this and all of Ford’s legal cases soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford lawsuit news, Ford Expedition news, and 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Subscribe to Ford Authority

For around-the-clock Ford news coverage

We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates. It's totally free.


  1. StarLord

    It seems like she should have sued Damian instead.

  2. Dave Mathers

    Probably the dumbest decision I have ever heard of. ‘unexpectedly self-shifted into powered reverse’? Really? How about she didn’t shift it all the way into park. AND the owner’s manual is VERY clear – ‘ALWAYS APPLY THE PARKING BRAKE WHEN EXITING VEHICLE’!!

  3. wjtinfwb

    So, she hits a mailbox, puts the truck in park or says she did, but did not turn off the engine? Then gets out, slips and falls with her leg perfectly positioned behind the left front wheel, and then the car magically engages reverse and runs her over. OK. And thats worth 57 Million? Our legal system is beyond broken.

  4. R Stokes

    I bought a new 1976 Ford Elite in 1976 and it would shift from park to reverse on its own. I’d place it in park and exit to unlock a gate and away it went.

  5. ViperACR

    Let’s break down what this broad did to earn $57MM:

    1. Struck a (stationary) mail box while “driving”.
    2. Failed to turn the vehicle ignition off before getting out to survey her handywork.
    3. Failed to put the vehicle in park.
    4. Exited the vehicle and fell on her back (because gravity).
    5. Ran herself over after sticking her leg behind the wheel of her SUV.

    I’m guessing her Expedition recognized she was a menace to public safety and decided to take the matter into its own hands, or she was drunk. Or both.

    1. Bob

      Sounds like a DUI to me

  6. Gary.virginia

    I know in my younger days of drinking I did some stupid stuff. Humming?

  7. Gary.virginia

    And if was anybody other than corrupt Donald they would be spending some time behind bars. GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS. Humming…..

  8. Mel

    I can’t stand how stupid jury’s can be. Not Ford’s fault at all. She’s not entitled to a dime. Ford better appeal this stupid decision. And get a judge this time at least they’ll have a little bit of sense people in the jury these days are dumb

  9. Jay

    Stupid libtard jury. No common sense. She should have shut off ign.
    And set brake.

  10. Jim

    I had the 1998 Expedition, the 2000 Expedition and the 2001 Expedition…..never had it go into reverse after I put it in park.
    If she ran into a mailbox, I guess she was drunk and didn’t get it into park.

  11. Brian

    It seems like to me if she fell backwards her right leg would have been under the vehicle, not her left leg

  12. Quasar

    “Drunk Broad forgets to put truck in park.

  13. Jamie

    Looks like the majority of opinions here are ignorant to what really happened to the vehicle,I’m a mechanic and have had to fix many defective ford shifters,anyone who thinks it’s the woman’s fault are could happen to anyone in a ford is ford’s fault.

  14. Jennifer

    Thank you Jamie! For everyone saying she must have been under some influence or failed to put the vehicle in park all the way, this is happening to so many people, my mother included. I was there. It was in park all the way. I hit the brake. I engaged the parking brake. I cut the engine. Nothing worked. This 5000lb suv came to a halt on her chest breaking her right rib cage, nicking her liver, and breaking her foot. The fire department had to lift if from her. Imagine what it took for me to make the decision to not drive it off her because I could clearly see that if I did, I would have killed her. The inspection showed it was faulty shifter bolts. A RECALL that was not repaired correctly or simply happened to loosen up again. There was nothing she could have done to prevent this. It was NOT her fault. All of you victim shamers are a disgrace. Easy to judge until it happens to you.

    1. Stalkbroker94

      “The inspection showed it was faulty shifter bolts. A RECALL that was not repaired correctly or simply happened to loosen up again.”

      There’s a lot of assuming that went on here with your story, which assumes the same thing happened to the person in this story. This also assumes you’re telling the truth, as you were in the vehicle and should have been in better control of it. You’re responsible for proper maintenance and where the vehicle goes when its in operation.

      “All of you victim shamers are a disgrace.”
      This is a fallacy. People are allowed to look at the situation with the same common sense that they’ve been using over their own years of experience and judge it for themselves. This also shows me that due to your own alleged experience that you’re too biased to look a this story in a fair light. A person that has something unfortunate happen to them is not a victim of anything other than misfortune. It’s unfortunate that the woman in this story believed she out the vehicle in park, but there’s nothing to verify that she did and there are other things she could have done to prevent it, such as not hitting a mailbox and perhaps turning the vehicle off before getting out. It’s easier to believe in this modern age that a person was neglectful in the operation of their vehicle than a vehicle shifting rather miraculously into powered gear if it’s in park.

  15. Jennifer

    When it’s your mother under a vehicle tell me it was her fault.

    1. Stalkbroker94

      You and Jamie never described a thing besides the emotional impact of the incident, never once addressing the fact that it was rather self-inflicted. I would rather doubt Jamie’s claim of being a mechanic that’s anything more than your average person and one doesn’t need to be a mechanic to look at the available information and smell a rather large and hairy rat. The lady failed to exercise common sense and unfortunately modern society is predicated on avoiding negative consequences for ineptitude.

      1. Jennifer

        How is it an “assumption” and “emotional” me actually being there, exercising every option of prevention? Yes, we DID describe more than just the “emotional impact”. YOU assumed “the lady failed to exercise common sense”, YOU assumed lack of “proper maintenance”, YOU assumed I “should have been in better control” of the vehicle. YOU are the one making all the assumptions. The malfunction was inspected and PROVEN for the police report, so NO assumptions were made on our part. Yes, all are entitled to their opinion but ugliness in delivery is immature and unnecessary. I’ve seen this happen in not only Ford but Mazda, Jeep, and Toyota. This is happening more often than you realize and it needs to stop. It is our goal to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Talk to me more when YOU are in this situation.


Leave a comment