Airbag Lawsuits and Recalls
There have been several notable airbag lawsuits involving defective or malfunctioning airbags. Lawsuits are filed by individuals or groups who have been injured as a result of alleged defects, malfunctions, or failures related to airbags in vehicles
These lawsuits include claims against automakers, airbag manufacturers, or other entities involved in the production, design, or installation of the airbags. If you believe you have been harmed due to an airbag-related issue, please contact Van Law.
Experienced attorneys at the Van Law Firm can assess the specific circumstances of your situation, provide legal advice, and guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit or seeking compensation for your injuries.
Takata Airbag Recalls
The Takata airbag recall is one of the largest recalls in automotive history. It involves defective airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation, a Japanese automotive parts company. The recall affected numerous vehicle models across multiple manufacturers.
The issue with Takata airbags stemmed from the inflators, which could rupture during deployment, leading to the release of metal fragments or shrapnel into the vehicle’s cabin. This defect posed a significant safety risk to the occupants.
Investigation and testing revealed that the defect was primarily associated with the inflators’ use of ammonium nitrate, a propellant that could degrade over time, especially in high humidity and temperature environments.
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Recall Process & Legal Consequences
Automobile manufacturers initiated recalls to replace the affected Takata airbags in their vehicles. The recall required identifying and prioritizing the highest-risk vehicles based on factors such as age, geographic location, and exposure to high-humidity areas.
In addition to the recall efforts, Takata faced legal consequences for its role in the defective airbags. The company pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States, acknowledging that it provided false test data to automakers.
Furthermore, Takata reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in financial penalties and a consent decree that outlined the company’s obligations.
Hyundai and Kia Airbag Defects
In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated reports of airbag failures in certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The investigation focused on alleged incidents where the airbags did not deploy during crashes.
The investigation led to a recall of over 1.1 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States in April 2019. The recall included various models from the 2010-2013 model years.
The reason for the recall was a potential defect in the airbag control unit, which could prevent the airbags from deploying during certain types of accidents. Following the recall, Hyundai and Kia faced legal action regarding these airbag defects.
Demand for ARC Airbag Recall
ARC Automotive (ARC) is facing lawsuits relating to alleged defects in its airbag inflators. According to the NHTSA, ARC’s airbags had the potential to rupture or underinflate during deployment, leading to serious injuries or death.
In 2016, ARC initiated a recall of approximately 2.7 million of its airbag inflators due to potential defects. The recall affected various automakers, including Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, and Kia, among others.
Following the recall, several lawsuits filed against ARC claim that the airbag inflators were defectively designed, manufactured, and that ARC failed to adequately warn consumers of the risks associated with its products.
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The Current Status of the ARC Lawsuit
In March 2023, the NHTSA ordered ARC to recall 67 million products because the inflators could explode and throw shrapnel. Two people have been killed and seven others have been injured due to defective ARC inflators in the US and Canada.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court last year, individuals suing ARC claimed that the company’s airbag inflators utilize ammonium nitrate as a secondary substance to inflate the airbags.
Plaintiffs allege that the propellant is compressed into tablets, which can expand and form tiny openings if exposed to moisture. When these tablets degrade, they acquire a larger surface area, leading to faster burning and an excessive explosion during airbag deployment.
Injuries Incurred from Improper Airbag Deployment
Airbag injuries can occur when airbags fail to deploy, deploy with excessive force, or have defects that cause harm to occupants. Below are some potential airbag-related injuries:
- Contusions and Abrasions: The forceful deployment of an airbag can cause contusions (bruises) and abrasions (scrapes) to the face, chest, or arms. These injuries often occur due to the rapid inflation and deflation of the airbag.
- Burns: Airbags use a controlled explosion to rapidly inflate. In rare cases, this can cause burns if the airbag comes into direct contact with the skin. These burns are usually mild and superficial but can occasionally be more severe.
- Eye Injuries: Airbag deployment can cause eye injuries due to the forceful impact or the release of hot gases. Common eye injuries include corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or damage to the eye’s internal structures.
- Fractures and Facial Injuries: In some cases, the force of the airbag deployment or contact with the airbag can cause fractures or facial injuries, such as broken bones, facial lacerations, or dental injuries.
- Internal Injuries: Although rare, airbags deploying with excessive force or in certain circumstances can cause internal injuries, such as damage to internal organs or rib fractures.
If you or someone you know has suffered similar injuries or suffered other damages relating to an airbag, please call Van Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. The Van Law Firm can help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
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