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Ford Carbon Monoxide Auto Defect Lawyers

carbon monoxide poisoning in Ford vehicles

The Ford carbon monoxide auto defect attorneys at Bisnar Chase are here to help if you have suffered due to this potentially deadly vehicle defect. Ford Motor Company has been put under the spotlight for a major carbon monoxide poisoning auto defect involving Ford Explorer vehicles. The defective vehicles allow carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment while on the road, engulfing drivers and passengers in toxic fumes.

This defect arises when the vehicle’s engine is running, either idling or in motion. Reports have indicated that having the air conditioning on and in circulation mode increases the amount of carbon monoxide fumes in the passenger cabin.

Being subjected to carbon monoxide for extended periods of time can result in severe injury and death, even when you do not know it is present. If you have suffered due to this dangerous fault, contact the law firm of Bisnar Chase today for a free consultation. We have a national reputation for winning auto defect cases and can secure the compensation you deserve.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Resources

Carbon Poisoning While Driving

The Ford auto defect has caused an uproar of concern in the auto community, media, and among drivers of Ford Explorers. 

Brian McDowell, a Newport Beach police officer, was responding to a call in his 2014 Ford Explorer police cruiser when he lost consciousness, jumped the boulevard into oncoming traffic, and plowed into a tree. The crash was caused by carbon monoxide seeping into his cabin, causing him to lose consciousness. It left him with a dislocated shoulder, fractured eye socket, and brain damage.

Officer McDowell does not remember the crash, but he recalls the moments before blacking out: “I just had that nauseous feeling and just a feeling like I had a headache.”

Office McDowell filed a lawsuit against Ford for his injuries due to the defect. And he is not the only one to have suffered. Ford Motor Company agreed to settle a class action lawsuit filed in Florida for an undisclosed amount.

It was made clear that Ford has known about this defect since 2012.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Gas-drenched exhaust fumes are emitted from your car when it is running. You can often smell it when you are stuck in rush hour traffic, starting your car in a garage, or even driving with the backseats down and trunk exposed. These fumes are saturated with carbon monoxide; a lethal gas created by emissions released from internal combustion engines of gas-powered vehicles.

Carbon monoxide (CO): A poisonous colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, that results from the incomplete combustion of carbon. Carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin, which has no oxygen-carrying capacity.

Inhalation causes many symptoms, as well as central nervous system damage, asphyxiation, and (in prolonged exposure) death. The gas mixes well with air, and explosive mixtures are easily formed. The gas penetrates easily through walls and ceilings. In other words, stay clear of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after inhaling too much carbon monoxide (CO). Symptoms of mild acute poisoning include:

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Flu-like symptoms.
  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Confusion.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Visual changes.
  • Fainting.
  • Seizure.

Larger exposures can lead to toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, resulting in death.

The Dangers of CO Poisoning

The most dangerous aspect of carbon monoxide is the fact that it is completely odorless, making it virtually impossible to detect its presence without the assistance of CO detectors or the obvious odor of gasoline and exhaust fumes.

In its native state, natural gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Mercaptan is a harmless chemical that is added to natural gas. It contains sulfur, which makes it smell. Many people describe the odor of mercaptan as similar to rotten eggs.

Like gas, carbon monoxide does not have a smell, color, or taste. Carbon monoxide forms by combining a carbon atom with an oxygen atom. Not only flammable, it is also very hazardous since it is very toxic and odorless. It is produced, among other ways, from incomplete combustion due to a lack of oxygen.

Car Emission Restrictions

In 1973, before catalytic converters were mandatory, a study proved that 40 percent of individuals with preexisting cardiovascular disease experienced irregular EKG results, as a result of a 90-minute ride on a Los Angeles freeway.

In 1975, catalytic converters were required on all new vehicles to be sold to help reduce emissions, helping pollution, smog, health issues, and the environment.

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction (an oxidation and a reduction reaction). Catalytic converters are used with internal combustion engines fueled by either petrol (gasoline) or diesel—including lean-burn engines as well as kerosene heaters and stoves.

The Ford Auto Defect is Fairly Common

A couple in New Jersey filed a lawsuit in the state Superior Court against Ford, claiming their Ford Explorer leaks toxic levels of carbon monoxide into the passenger compartment. Ford asked to have the case moved to U.S. District Court and the couple’s lawyer responded by seeking a judge’s order to have the lawsuit declared as a class action case.

Ford sold nearly 1.5 million Ford Explorers from 2011-2017 and has known about the defect in the Ford Explorer since 2011.

After receiving 154 complaints of Ford drivers smelling exhaust fumes while driving, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation on 2011-2015 Ford Explorers. Once the investigation became public, the complaints shot up to over 450, including 2016 and 2017 Explorer models.

Vehicle owners reported their Ford Explorers would emit strong exhaust smells when accelerating onto the freeway, when the air conditioning was running high and on circulation mode, or whenever the vehicle was exerting its power.

Ford suggested repairs including:

  • Software changes to the recirculation mode of Ford Explorer air conditioning systems.
  • Undercoating areas of the vehicle’s floor and body seams.
  • Replacing the left-side air extractor.
  • Installing drain valves in the vehicle’s rear lift gate.

Neglecting to admit the severity of the situation, Ford reassured the defect was not a big deal and should not be considered a safety concern, even though there have been many cases of carbon monoxide poisoning directly related to this Ford defect.

Several Police Officers Poisoned

Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell crashed his Ford Explorer police cruiser into a tree after falling unconscious due to Ford’s carbon monoxide leak defect.

Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell, who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to a Ford vehicle defect
Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell

Brian Chase, managing partner of Bisnar Chase with a top record in auto defect cases, received word of Ford’s understated response to the problem.

The Ford statement said: “We take the safety of our customers very seriously and will cooperate with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do. In rare circumstances, there have been instances where customers detected an exhaust odor in Explorers. While it poses no safety risk, customers can and are encouraged to contact their local Ford dealer to address any concerns.”

The automaker had not issued a recall to fix the alleged defect. But the company issued two “technical service bulletins” in 2012 and 2014, which instructed dealers to attempt to fix the defect when motorists bring in vehicles for other repairs. According to NHTSA investigation reports, customers with their Ford Explorers defect fixed reported “little or no improvement.” There are cases nationwide.

While declining to comment further, NHTSA maintains there haven’t been any serious injuries. Brian McDowell’s attorney, Brian Chase, strongly disputes this. “When I saw that they said there were no injuries, we immediately got NHTSA on the phone,” Chase said. “I gave them all the information we had in the lawsuit.” “[McDowell’s] dream of being a cop could be reduced to a desk job,” Brian Chase says.

McDowell is suing Ford Motor Company for the incident. Chase says all Explorers from 2011 to 2015 are affected. “My advice is to sell the car,” Chase says. “Don’t try to fix it because there is no fix for this.”

Texas police office and Ford carbon monoxide poisoning victim Zachary LaHood
Texas police office Zachary LaHood

Other officers being represented by Bisnar Chase are telling their stories too. Like Austin, Texas police officer Zachary LaHood, who was subjected to carbon monoxide silently seeping into the occupant cabin of his Ford Explorer police interceptor.

After suddenly experiencing a mild and dull headache, LaHood fell unconscious while driving, almost ramming head-on with a bus. Bisnar Chase is fighting for the rights of officers and civilians.

Is Your Ford Explorer Affected?

Those consumers who have purchased a 2011-2017 model Ford Explorer and have experienced exhaust odors or symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should consult with their doctor. It is advisable to buy a carbon monoxide detector to help determine whether your vehicle is leaking carbon monoxide into the occupant’s cabin. You can find CO detectors at department stores and online. They are affordable and worth the money to ensure your and your family’s safety.

As this particular auto defect continues to be in the spotlight, whether you have a Ford or other vehicle make, you should be aware of the potential dangers of carbon monoxide getting into your passenger cabin and affecting the health and safety of the driver and their passengers.

Read about the Complete History of the Ford Explorer Carbon Monoxide Auto Defect, Ford’s Ever-Changing Response Timeline, and the NHTSA Reports and Consumer Complaints to Ford and the Government.

Other possible reasons for carbon monoxide contamination inside vehicle passenger cabins include:

  • Vehicles with defective or damaged exhaust systems.
  • Vehicles with poorly tuned engines.
  • Driving with the backseats down, leaving the trunk cavity open into the passenger cabin.
  • Vehicles with holes in the body.
  • Riding in the bed of a vehicle, with or without a shell or topper.
  • Running a vehicle in an open or closed garage or enclosed space.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received thousands of complaints over the Ford issue. The watchdog launched an investigation into more than 1.4 million Explorers.

Overall, there were more than 2,700 complaints, including several crashes and more than 40 injuries. In response, the manufacturer developed a fix. Ford claimed it resolved the issue. But NHTSA has still received hundreds of additional complaints from people who have had the repairs done and still suffered issues.

If you have suffered due to this vehicle defect and believe you have an injury claim, our law firm is here to help. We have a team of personal injury lawyers with decades of experience in holding auto manufacturers accountable. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Contact our Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyers

If you have suffered injuries due to a Ford carbon monoxide fault, please contact our auto defect lawyers and let us help with your injury claim.

Bisnar Chase has a 99% success rate with more than 45 years of experience and success. Our law firm is made up of highly skilled and top-rated trial attorneys with a track record of success.  We are dedicated to making the world safer by keeping automotive giants accountable and are ready to fight for your rights.

Our firm offers a no win no fee guarantee and advances the costs necessary to win your case. We offer a free consultation with no obligations, so there is no risk to you.

Contact the best Ford carbon monoxide poisoning attorney for your case now. Call (800) 561-4887, send us an email, or use our website live chat to speak to a representative 24/7.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorneys

  • If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a Ford vehicle, know your rights and contact an attorney today. We may be able to get you the compensation you deserve.

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