By: Nicole Halavi
In October 2020, a class-action lawsuit against Chrysler alleged that several models are equipped with a headrest that will deploy and injure an occupant without being triggered by a crash impact.
The following are the models equipped with the allegedly defective head restraint systems:
- 2010-2018 Dodge Journey
- 2010-2011 Dodge Nitro
- 2010-2012 Jeep Liberty
- 2010-2017 Jeep Patriot or Compass
- 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber
- 2010-2018 Dodge Caravan
- 2010-2018 Chrysler Town & Country
- 2011-2018 Dodge Durango
- 2011-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2010-2014 Chrysler Sebring/Avenger
- 2010-2014 Chrysler 200
The automaker was allegedly aware of the defective head restraint system but concealed its knowledge from its customers.
What is an Active Head Restraint System?
Back in 2010, Chrysler began equipping these models with active head restraint systems manufactured by Grammer. The system was meant to prevent a driver or passenger from whiplash in a rear-end crash. The restraint system uses a padded front and back with 2 springs that sit between these sections. The front portion contains a sled, which is a plastic bracket containing a metal rod called a striker pin. On the other hand, the back portion contains a hook connected to a sensor.
A loaded headrest, or a headrest that hasn’t deployed, is kept in place by the compressed springs in the middle of the headrest portion and the hook in the back part grabbing onto the striker pin in the front part. Ultimately, upon the sensors detecting a rear-end crash, the hook releases the striker pin and the front of the headrest deploys to catch the occupant’s head.
The suit alleges that this restraint system will suddenly activate because the sled is made of weak plastic polymer and when it reacts with a chemical compound in the striker pin’s coating, a negative interaction results. The plastic polymer is allegedly too weak to withstand the interaction with such a compound. This is evidenced by cracks in the plastic when the chemical compound on the striker pin contacts the polymer. Once the plastic degrades, the sled is no longer able to withstand the pressure of the spring-loaded headrest and thus, deploys as soon as the sled breaks.
Not surprisingly, Chrysler accuses the customer of tampering with the system when complaints are made about a headrest that deploys without an impact. The customer is then forced to pay for the headrest repair, which can cost more than $800 for just one headrest. If a customer is unable to afford this repair, they can only continue to operate the vehicle with a defective headrest that has already been deployed.
The lawsuit alleges the government received 94 Chrysler head restraint complaints during a 3-year period prior to October 2018, with 35 of those complaints alleging that the headrests deployed suddenly while driving. Even more concerning is that some plaintiffs must continue to struggle with chronic migraines and neck pain due to this defect.
What Can I Do if My Chrysler is Equipped With a Defective Head Restraint System?
If you are driving a Chrysler equipped with a defective headrest restrains system, California’s lemon laws are here to protect you and prevent any further complications. The attorneys at CCA are very knowledgeable about the defective head restraint systems equipped in the various Chrysler models discussed above and will work with you to fight back against the automaker.
Please do not hesitate to call CCA today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM. We’ll get you the compensation you deserve – and at no cost to you!