Defective Exploding Airbags

Defective Airbag Lawsuit

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Defective Exploding Airbags

What: Vehicles that have been equipped with defective airbags.

Who: On September 5, 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it wants to issue a recall of 52 million airbag inflators after opening an investigation into certain frontal driver and airbag inflators manufactured by ARC Automotive Inc. and Delphi Automotive Systems LLC. Their investigation claims to have discovered safety defects in the inflators that can cause them to explode, endangering the lives of the vehicle drivers and passengers.

Where: The Takata recall is worldwide, while the recall of the ARC airbag inflators is currently only taking place in the United States. However, the NHTSA still believes that due to the number of incidents, a broad recall is necessary.

Why: Drivers are potentially at risk of being injured or killed by the faulty airbags. Metal shards and shrapnel may be propelled at high speeds, causing severe cuts, burns, eye injuries, torn arteries, broken bones, and death. Regardless of fault in an accident or the number of parties involved, those injured by an exploding airbag may still have a claim.

How Can I Identify the Recalled Product?: View a list of vehicles with defective exploding airbags here. *It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises all vehicle owners to check their 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the NHTSA website to determine if their vehicle is affected.*


Current Faulty Airbags Recalls

Thousands of people have been injured or killed due to manufacturing problems associated with defective airbags. In recent years, these faulty airbags have led to thousands of lawsuits and multiple recalls, some of which are ongoing. 


ARC and Delphi Automotive Systems

On September 5, 2023, the NHTSA announced they will hold a public meeting on October 5, 2023, at USDOT headquarters in Washington, DC, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET to discuss its initial decision that certain frontal driver and passenger air bag inflators manufactured by ARC and Delphi through January 2018 contain a defect related to motor vehicle safety and should be recalled due to safety hazards. The recall comes after in March 2023, when the airbag inflator on the driver's side in a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan, causing the driver facial injuries.

ARC Automotive continues to argue that the NHTSA lacks "sufficient evidence" for its claim there was a safety defect in the airbags. ARC claims that the seven confirmed ruptures that caused injuries were due to "occasional or isolated failures that are an inevitable part of any volume manufacturing process." According to the NHTSA's investigation, the weld slag is likely the cause of the ruptures. 

The report states that when the weld slag becomes dislodged, it can block the inflator's exit orifice when the airbag deploys. "A blockage of sufficient size will cause an over-pressurization and rupture of the inflator, leading to the potential forced propulsion of shrapnel or metal fragments from the inflator into the passenger compartment." The report also predicts additional ruptures to occur in the future and risks more severe injuries and deaths if they are not recalled and replaced. 

Since the call for the recall, Delphi Automotive Systems was acquired by Autoliv ASP, Inc., the North American subsidiary of Sweden-based Autoliv Inc., which designs and manufactures automobile safety restraint systems. Due to the company's recent acquisition, Autoliv ASP, Inc. may not be liable for the previously made inflators. 

While the NHTSA has not verified whose legal responsibility it would be, there is speculation liability could fall on the vehicle manufacturers who used the inflators as part of their original equipment. The recalled airbag inflators were installed into vehicles from the following vehicle manufacturers:

  • BMW of North America, LLC
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors LLC
  • Hyundai Motor America, Inc.
  • Kia America, Inc.
  • Maserati North America, Inc.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA LLC
  • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
  • Tesla Inc.
  • Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
  • Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Vehicle owners can check back here for more updates following the NHTSA public meeting to learn more about the ARC and Delphi Automotive Systems recall. Until a decision has been made, drivers who have been affected by the defective airbags recall can contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney today to learn more about what their legal options are. 



The NHTSA called for an immediate recall of 67 million potentially dangerous air bag inflators manufactured by ARC Automotive after an eight-year investigation found that drivers are potentially at risk of being injured or killed by metal shards and shrapnel propelled at high speeds due to the faulty inflator. Due to the defective airbag inflator, drivers are at risk of suffering from injuries such as severe cuts, burns, eye injuries, torn arteries, broken bones, and death.

ARC has worked with manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Porsche, Stellantis, Toyota, and Volkswagen.



Named the largest and most complex recall in U.S. history, the Takata recall affected over 63 million vehicles worldwide. The safety issues with Takata airbags were first discovered in the early 2000s. However, the issues with the airbags did not become widely known until 2014 due to safety concerns from several major car manufacturers calling for a recall of their vehicles equipped with faulty airbags. 

According to the reports, due to the airbag's defective design, the chemical compound within the inflator, when exposed to high heat and humidity over time, could cause the metal parts inside the airbag to explode, shooting out of the airbag at the driver or passengers. Car manufacturers with Takata airbags installed in their vehicles include Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and more.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is an Airbag?

    Airbags were designed to act as supplemental protection with seat belts. It comprises an airbag cushion, a flexible fabric bag, an inflation module, and an impact sensor. Both the frontal and the side-impact airbags are typically designed to deploy in the event of minor, moderate, or severe crashes. Airbags are meant to reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle's interior during an impact by providing the occupant with soft cushioning and restraint during a collision.

  • Why Is a Faulty Airbag Dangerous?

    Airbags are estimated to have reduced accident fatalities by up to 30 percent. So, while airbags provide an excellent service in reducing the injuries drivers and passengers receive during a car accident––when failing to perform correctly, airbags can cause more harm than good. If an airbag fails to activate during a crash, or if it deploys by mistake, the people in the vehicle may become seriously injured or even killed.

  • Common Injuries Caused by Faulty Airbags

    We all know that in the event of a car accident, airbags are meant to improve the safety of vehicle occupants. However, when an airbag is defective, it can also increase the risk of injury for the driver and passengers. Some of the most common injuries drivers and passengers can receive due to a faulty airbag include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Spinal cord injury
    • Shrapnel injury
    • Lacerations
    • Death
    • Facial trauma
    • Eye injuries
    • Rib fractures
    • Head injury
    • Dislocated and fractured shoulders
    • Broken bones
    • Chemical Burns

    For more information regarding the types of injuries you may sustain due to a faulty airbag, you can contact a  Morgan & Morgan attorney today by completing our free, no-obligation case evaluation form.

  • What Compensation Could I Receive?

    When faulty airbags are installed into a vehicle, in the event of a car crash, the airbag may not deploy or can cause further injuries to the occupants inside. In most cases, those who have been injured by a defective airbag may be eligible to recover the following damages:

    • Medical expenses
    • Lost wages
    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of consortium
    • Punitive damages
    • Emotional distress
    • Wrongful death

    We highly recommend you speak to an attorney for a more accurate estimate of what you may be eligible to recover for your faulty airbag case.

  • How Can I Determine if My Car is Affected by the Recalled?

    Owners who are wondering if their car is part of a recall can head to the NHTSA's website and enter their car's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into their search bar, or they can contact their vehicle's manufacturer to inquire if their car is part of an active recall. Drivers can locate their car's VIN on the lower left of their vehicle's windshield, or they can find it located on their car's registration card. In some cases, the VIN may be shown on the driver's insurance card.

  • Contact a Morgan & Morgan Attorney

    You should never have to wonder if the safety feature designed in your car will cause you or your loved ones more harm than good. For over 35 years, our law firm has been working to help victims just like you get the justice you deserve when major auto manufacturers drop the ball on your safety. Our attorneys have handled multiple lawsuits regarding the automotive industry and are uniquely qualified to handle your case. 

    If you have been injured in a car accident or a loved one has lost their life due to a faulty airbag, we may be able to help you. For more information regarding your defective airbag case, you can connect with our attorneys today by completing a free, no-obligation case evaluation form.

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