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Grimshaw v Ford Motor Co [1981]


  • A Ford Pinto burst into flames when another car crashed into the back of it after it stalled on a freeway
  • The passenger, Mr Grimshaw, suffered severe injuries
  • Evidence showed that Ford knew that this was a defect in the car during its design, but decided that it was cost prohibitive to rectify the issue


  • Should risk-benefit analyses be used when there is a potential for severe injury to people?


  • No, therefore Ford would be liable to compensate Grimshaw


  • Tort law tries to deter wrongs
  • Ford had calculated how many deaths/serious injuries could be compensated for to still turn a profit without making alterations to the design of the car to make it safer; this had to be rectified by the court
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