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Austin Police Officer Sues Ford for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Austin Police Officer Sues Ford for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Image courtesy of kxan.com

Austin Police Corporal Zachary LaHood is suing Ford Motor Company and the dealership, Leif Johnson Ford, in connection with a carbon monoxide poisoning incident in March. According to a KXAN news report, LaHood was working as an on-duty police sergeant at around 1:30 a.m. March 18 when he became nauseous, light-headed and had cognitive issues, headaches and blurred vision.

The officer told KXAN he almost lost his consciousness and nearly collided with an oncoming bus before pulling his Ford Explorer police vehicle into a parking lot and calling for help. The lawsuit, filed by the Newport Beach personal injury law firm of Bisnar Chase, also claims that Ford and Leif Johnson manufactured, marketed and sold a product that was unreasonably and dangerously defective in its design. It also claims that various design elements of the vehicle allow the toxic carbon monoxide gas to enter the passenger compartment.

Not the Only Incident

Brian Chase, who is representing LaHood, other police officers and civilians in connection with the same auto defect involving Ford Explorers, said the automaker failed to notify the general public of this problem in spite of knowing that it had potentially life-threatening consequences. Chase says the vehicles are particularly dangerous for police officers because they are left running throughout the officer’s shift to avoid rebooting the vehicle’s computer system. Ford has issued at least two Technical service Bulletins to fix the carbon monoxide problem, but it hasn’t issued a recall yet. And they need to issue a recall before people start getting killed, Chase said.

It’s not as if Ford doesn’t know of this problem or that consumers have not been complaining. In fact, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into this issue a year ago after getting hundreds of complaints. Chase said he is representing at least a dozen others who are not police officers in connection with the same problem.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely toxic. Symptoms of carbon monoxide or CO poisoning are very similar to the flu. So, it can be tough to tell the difference. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. Bisnar Chase is also representing another police officer from Newport Beach who was seriously injured in a car accident because he was sickened by the carbon monoxide leaking into his patrol vehicle.

As auto defect lawyers representing these injured individuals, we are deeply concerned about the serious danger posed by these vehicles. Ford needs to do the right thing here and recall these dangerous and defective vehicles.

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