Lawsuits have been filed against car manufacturers and airbag-makers by people who claim that the airbags can fail to deploy or explode in a crash.
Need a Texas Airbag Failure Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an auto accident where the airbags failed or exploded, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Safety Officials Issue Warning for 52 Million Airbag Inflators
In 2023, safety officials warned that around 52 million airbag inflators made by ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive could potentially explode and shoot out deadly metal shrapnel. Two deaths and 7 injuries have been reported in the U.S. and Canada since 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
These inflators were made between 2000 and January 2018 and installed in vehicles from 12 different auto-makers, including:
- Stellantis / Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA)
- General Motors (GM)
- Volkswagen (VW)
What is the Problem?
Airbags are one of the most important life-saving safety features of modern vehicles. Over 50,000 lives were saved by frontal airbags between 1987 and 2017, according to the NHTSA.
The problem is that airbags do not always work in an emergency. The airbags may fail to deploy, deploy too late, or explode. There are a variety of reasons why airbags fail to deploy in crashes, but when they do, the consequences are often catastrophic injuries or death to the driver and/or passengers inside the vehicle.
Around 67 million Takata airbags have been recalled because they can explode when deployed, spraying metal shrapnel. Safety officials also believe that around 52 million airbag inflators made by ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive can explode and shoot out deadly metal pieces.
How Do Airbags Work?
When a vehicle is involved in a collision, a lot needs to happen in the blink of an eye for the airbags to work. The force of the collision activates sensors in the vehicle that send electrical signals to the airbags.
If the force of the collision is powerful enough to meet the “firing threshold,” the airbag system’s electronic control unit will trigger the release of a harmless gas that inflates the airbag.
The airbags inflate extremely quickly — less than 1/20th of a second for frontal airbags, and even quicker for side-impact airbags. Afterward, the airbags deflate to prevent the people in the vehicle from suffocating.
Why Might an Airbag Fail to Deploy After a Crash?
- Defective vehicle
- Defects in the airbag itself (manufacturing errors)
- The crash was not serious enough (such as hitting a curb)
- Nature of the crash did not trigger the airbags (rear-end collisions, certain rollovers and oblique side-impact crashes)
- Airbag sensors malfunctioned
- Vehicle’s electronic system or wiring malfunctioned
- Faulty clock springs in the steering column failed to transmit a signal from the vehicle to the airbag system
- Airbag was not replaced by a previous owner
- Front passenger seat airbags automatically turned off because the vehicle sensed a child or small adult in the seat
What is the Risk?
In head-on collisions, the driver and a front-seat passenger can slam into the dashboard, windshield or steering wheel. This often results in severe facial injuries, broken bones, blindness, lacerations, neck injuries, brain injuries, or death.
Passengers in the back seats of the vehicle can also hit the interior and suffer life-threatening injuries. There is a high risk of injuries when the side-impact or curtain airbags fail during “T-bone” accidents (or broadside collisions) and rollovers.
Severe Injuries From Airbag Failures
- Face injuries
- Cuts, bruising, lacerations
- Severe scarring
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries (whiplash)
- Back injuries
- Spinal injuries (paralysis)
- Traumatic brain injuries
Can I File a Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one was injured because the airbags failed, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of your vehicle, the manufacturer of the airbag, car dealership, or the previous owner.
The nature of the lawsuit will depend on the reason why your airbags failed, but typically you will be eligible to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, long-term injuries, lost income, wrongful death of a loved one, and more.
ZF Airbags Under Investigation After Complaints of Failures
In October 2020, a class action lawsuit claimed that ZF-TRW airbags in 15 million vehicles could fail to deploy due to defective airbag control units (ACUs).
Federal safety officials opened an investigation into the problem in April 2019, after reports of 6 injuries and 4 deaths in vehicles where the airbags failed to deploy, according to Car Complaints.
The NHTSA explained the problem in its investigation summary:
“These control units may suffer electrical overstress due to harmful signals (electrical transients) produced by the crash event, causing the unit to stop working during the crash.”
Around 15 million vehicles with ZF-TRW airbags are under investigation, including vehicles from Acura, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mitsubishi, Ram, and Toyota.
Need an Airbag Failure Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our law firm for a free case review.