BMW has been hit by lawsuits after recalling thousands of vehicles with defective airbags that can explode metal shrapnel, causing severe injuries or death to people in the vehicle.
Need a Texas BMW Airbag 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 by metal from a BMW airbag explosion, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
BMWs May Contain Deadly ARC Airbags
In early 2015, U.S. government safety officials began investigating reports of people who were injured or killed by metal shrapnel that blew out of their ARC airbag inflator when it deployed.
What is the Risk?
Between 2009 and 2023, two people died (one person in the U.S. and another person in Canada) and 7 people were seriously injured when they were hit by metal parts when an ARC or Delphi airbag exploded.
BMW Recalls ARC Airbags on 2017 BMW X5
In March 2017, BMW recalled certain X5 vehicles because they were manufactured with ARC airbag inflators that could rupture and shoot out deadly metal fragments.
According to the recall:
“If the inflator cannot vent properly, the inflator may rupture, resulting in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants and causing serious injury or death.”
The recall includes certain 2017 X5 sDrive35i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive50i, X5 xDrive35d, and X5 xDrive40e vehicles.
BMW warned that the inflators “may not vent properly in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal air bag,” according to the recall.
ARC Airbag Explosions Linked to Manufacturing Problem
ARC airbag explosions are linked to a manufacturing problem that occurs when the metal canister is being welded together, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Investigators believe that the friction welding process can create debris called “weld slag” that gets left behind inside the inflator canister. If the debris is big enough, it can block a hole that is supposed to allow gases to escape and inflate the airbag.
Instead of inflating the airbag, the gases pressurize the metal canister and blow apart the inflator, shooting out jagged pieces of metal. These metal pieces can injure or kill people in the vehicle, as well as ripping apart the airbag and preventing it from inflating properly in a crash.
BMW Hit By Class Action Lawsuit for ARC Airbags
BMW was hit by a class action lawsuit in November 2022 for owners of vehicles that contain ARC airbag inflators.
The lawsuit claims that BMW has delayed recalling thousands of vehicles with dangerous ARC airbags, despite a safety investigation by the NHTSA that has been ongoing since 2015.
BMW vehicles with ARC airbags include, but may not be limited to:
- 2014-2017 BMW i3
- 2014-2017 MINI Cooper 2-Door
- 2015-2017 MINI Cooper 4-Door
- 2016-2017 MINI Cooper Convertible
- 2016-2017 BMW X1
- 2014-2017 BMW X5
- 2015-2017 BMW X6
The lawsuit cites examples of people who were seriously injured by ARC airbags, including Lois Dutton, a woman who was hit in the neck and nearly died when an ARC airbag exploded after a low-speed crash that occurred as she was turning into her driveway. She said, “It looked like someone had shot a gun at the windshield.”
The BMW airbag lawsuit was filed on September 23, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina (Charleston Division) — Case Number 2:22-cv-03244-BHH
Is This The Same Problem as Takata Airbag Explosions?
ARC airbags and Takata airbag inflators can both rupture and shoot out pieces of metal, but the ruptures occur for different reasons.
Takata airbag ruptures are linked to problems with ammonium nitrate, which is a volatile chemical propellant that is supposed to inflate the airbag. Instead, the chemical degrades and burns too quickly, blowing the canister apart — especially in humid climates.
In comparison, problems with ARC airbag inflators are linked to a manufacturing issue during the welding process. In January 2018, ARC Automotive updated their manufacturing process to reduce the risk of debris being left behind inside the inflator. No injuries or deaths have been linked to ARC airbag inflators made since January 2018.
BMW Pays $131 Million Settlement in Airbag Class Action
BMW and other auto-makers have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle class action lawsuits and individual lawsuits involving defective airbags. These settlements include a $131 million settlement from BMW for people who lost resale value on cars that contained Takata airbag inflators.
BMW Warns 90,000 Owners “Do Not Drive” Vehicles With Takata Airbags
In May 2023, BMW issued a heightened warning for 90,000 owners of older-model vehicles with extremely dangerous Takata airbags.
BMW said “DO NOT DRIVE” these vehicles because the Tataka airbags have a 50% chance of rupturing, even after minor crashes:
- 2000-2006 BMW 3 Series (E46) including M3
- 2000-2003 BMW 5 Series (E39) including M5
- 2000-2004 BMW X5s (E53)
Those were the highest-risk vehicles, but BMW has also recalled thousands of other vehicles that contain Takata airbags. These vehicles include:
- 2008-2013 1 Series
- 2000-2013 3 Series
- 2000-2003 5 Series
- 2013-2015 X1
- 2007-2010 X3
- 2000-2004 X5
- 2007-2013 X5
- 2008-2014 X6
Need a BMW Airbag Lawyer in Texas?
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