Ford Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyer
Your life may be in danger if you are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide has been described as a silent killer because it has no odor, taste, and is practically invisible. This means you could be breathing in carbon monoxide daily and not even realize it until you discover that you have brain damage, or you suddenly die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately five hundred people are killed each year in the United States as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, over fifteen thousand people are taken to the hospital and treated for carbon monoxide-related injuries. It is challenging to diagnose someone with carbon monoxide poisoning because the symptoms of exposure are akin to someone coming down with the flu. For example, someone exposed to high amounts of carbon monoxide may complain of suffering headaches, nausea, and feeling lethargic. It is usually only when someone continues to get worse physically that the prospect of carbon monoxide poisoning is investigated by medical professionals.
This is why news that Ford Motor Company has vehicles on the road that may be exposing people to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide is so concerning.Millions of Vehicles Are at Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Close to 800 people have filed complaints with government agencies after being exposed to carbon monoxide in their Ford Explorers. In addition to government complaints, Ford Motor Company has received over two thousand complaints concerning carbon monoxide poisoning from customers, according to Fox News.
Reports have surfaced indicating that the Ford Explorer model used by police across the country are particularly affected. There have been reports of accidents involving police-model Explorers that many suspect may be connected to carbon monoxide exposure.
The issue has become so serious that Ford agreed to make repairs and corrections to the police-model Explorers to try and remediate the problem.
The NBC News video below reports on the Center for Auto Safety urging Ford to recall 1.3 million vehicles over carbon monoxide poisoning.Ford Attempting to Limit Liability by Placing Blame on Police
In an obvious attempt to try and limit its liability exposure, Ford issued an announcement claiming that the installation of after-market police equipment may be the reason why the Explorers are allowing carbon monoxide to leak in. The motor company claims that after-market changes may have left small holes in an Explorer's underbody that would allow exhaust to enter the interior of the vehicle.Federal Investigation into Ford Explorers Expanding
Federal regulators such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have since escalated the matter to a full-blown investigation of over 1.3 million Ford vehicles, according to Reuters.
NHTSA has reportedly received over two thousand complaints that may be connected to carbon monoxide exhaust exposure. In addition, there have been over forty reported injuries involving both civilian and police Explorers. The federal investigation includes Explorer model years between 2011 and 2017. The injuries reported by people include the following:
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Stomach pain and nausea
- Intense headaches
- A consistent feeling of lightheadedness
- Slurred speech
- Damaged vision
For some people, the harms described above may not go away when they discover the carbon monoxide exposure and remove themselves from the area. They could be left with neurological damage that is permanent and irreversible.Safety Issue Not Confined to Police Vehicles
Ford is claiming that the carbon monoxide issue is confined to police-model Explorers and does not include non-police Explorers. However, as complaints continue to come in, there are many people affected who are not driving police-model Ford Explorers. A prime example is a man in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He owned a regular-model Ford Explorer. He learned about a police officer who wound up driving into a tree and three other officers who had to be hospitalized due to carbon monoxide exposure, according to CBS Boston. The man is the father of a 10-day-old daughter.
He took his Explorer in to have the air tested inside the vehicle. His concerns were warranted. The tests showed that the interior of his vehicle had a carbon monoxide level of 36 parts per million. The EPA placed a limit on the safe amount of carbon monoxide exposure for one hour to only 35 parts per million. Upon discovering this shocking news, the man called his daughter's pediatrician and they urged him not to have the child in the Explorer since exposure to those levels of carbon monoxide could cause brain damage and difficulty breathing for a child.
The pediatrician cautioned that long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon monoxide could be life-threatening for infant children.
This example is why the NHTSA and other federal regulators are expanding their investigation. They continue to receive complaints from individuals who purchased the regular-model Ford Explorer without any after-market modifications, according to the Los Angeles Times.Serious Injuries Associated with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
As mentioned, many carbon monoxide poisoning cases are not properly diagnosed because the symptoms share so many similarities with other common ailments like a bad cold. Nevertheless, if you or a loved one is suffering from unexplained health symptoms such as persistent nausea, headaches/migraines, losing consciousness, etc. then you should seek immediate medical attention to determine whether or not you have been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide. Do not make the mistake of self-diagnosing yourself as having the flu or some other common malady. Instead, visit with a trained medical professional so they can make an accurate diagnosis.
Getting treatment right away is critical because long-term exposure to carbon monoxide can result in devastating side effects that may be debilitating and life-altering. If your doctor diagnoses you with carbon monoxide poisoning, take the time to meet with an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
The short news clip below reports on the risks of carbon monoxide while driving keyless ignition cars.California Product Liability Laws
If you discover that you or a loved one was in fact exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and that exposure was caused by the negligence of a corporation like Ford Motor Company or another corporate entity, you may be able to file a civil claim to seek financial restitution for your harms and losses. California has consumer-friendly product liability laws. In fact, California was the first state to hold a defendant responsible for a plaintiff's harms and losses under strict liability. California courts have held that the manufacturer of a product should be held strictly liable when that product is defective, and the defect proximately caused your injury or the death of a loved one.
The reason California courts embrace strict liability is to make sure the costs of bodily injuries and wrongful deaths caused by a defective product are placed on the product manufacturer that released the problematic product into the marketplace instead of putting the burden on an injured consumer.
In addition to strict liability, California courts allow a plaintiff to seek punitive damages against a product manufacturer is there is evidence that the manufacturer's conduct was shocking and egregious.
A product liability claim can arise from a defective product, even if you were injured after the product was recalled. You can also file a product liability claim for a defectively designed product as long as you were using the product for its intended purpose. Another basis for a product liability claim is when there is evidence that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about a known dangerous characteristic of the product.Types of Product Liability Claims Involving Motor Vehicles
If you or a family member suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from your Ford Explorer or other automobiles, you might be able to pursue financial restitution through two types of product liability claims. The first type of claim is, as mentioned that the vehicle was defectively manufactured or was assembled using defective parts. The defect may have been the result of an error at the manufacturing facility where the vehicle or part was made, or it could have been a problem that developed when the car was shipped.
The other type of claim, as mentioned, is when the vehicle was designed in such a way as to make it inherently dangerous. This claim asserts that even when a product was manufactured properly, the design of the product is so dangerous that it exposes a consumer to serious injuries or other harms and losses.Multiple Defendants in Your Sacramento Product Liability Lawsuit
It is important to properly identify all of the potentially liable parties and include them when filing your product liability claim. In the context of a product liability claim involving a vehicle, it may be possible to include all parties involved in the chain of distribution. In these types of cases, the chain of distribution could include:
- Vehicle manufacturer - the manufacturer, is usually a fairly large corporate entity. For example, Ford Motor Companies would be considered the manufacturer of the Explorers that may be defective and exposing people to carbon monoxide poisoning. Taking legal action against a large manufacturer often means there is a larger amount of funds to resolve the lawsuit via settlement, but it also entails a lengthy legal battle since manufacturers retain teams of skilled defense attorneys who work day in and day out trying to reduce or deny the company's liability exposure.
- Manufacturer of a particular part used in the vehicle - If your product liability claim involves a part in a motor vehicle that was defective (e.g., tire, battery, airbag, underbody, etc.) the manufacturer of the part needs to be brought into the lawsuit. This does not mean that you drop the manufacturer of the vehicle. In fact, you should take legal action against both the vehicle manufacturer and part manufacturer.
If you were exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide in a vehicle that you did not own, you could still file a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer. This is because vehicles are designed to carry passengers and it is quite common for someone to borrow a friend or family member's vehicle. The legal rights available to an injured passenger or someone who had temporary possession of the vehicle are effectively the same as the vehicle owner.What You Could Recover Through a Product Liability Lawsuit
If you decide to pursue a product liability claim, you may be able to obtain monetary compensation for the following harms and losses caused by the defective product:
- Expenses related to your medical treatment
- Reimbursement of lost wages, including wages you would have earned in the future if you are physically unable to return to work; and
- Pain and suffering, which includes mental anguish, emotional distress, and other intangible harms.
Filing a legal claim against a large manufacturer is quite similar to David taking on Goliath. As mentioned, large vehicle manufacturers like Ford Motor Company, and others, employ large teams of defense attorneys, claims adjusters, and investigators who spend their days working to reduce or deny personal injury and wrongful death claims. This is why it makes sense to retain an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney. It helps level the playing field and provides you with someone who is working for your best interests.
Your attorney can conduct an in-depth investigation into the facts surrounding your injuries, collect the necessary records, and negotiate with the insurance company, or companies. If they cannot reach a settlement, your attorney should be ready and able to go to trial to get the financial restitution you are owed.Damage from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The damage from carbon monoxide poisoning can result in permanent harm to you or a loved one. Permanent damage is often accompanied by huge medical expenses and an inability to make money since you may be unable to return to your chosen profession. This is why it is so important to hold the vehicle manufacturer accountable for their negligence.Ford Carbon Monoxide Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Ford Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyer. If you or someone that you love has suffered a Ford carbon monoxide poisoning, please reach out to me for free, friendly legal advice at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400.
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Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.16.19]