Defective Tesla Airbags
Tesla Airbag Lawsuit
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Defective Tesla Airbags
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has demanded that ARC Automotive issue a recall for roughly 67 million inflators in driver and passenger front airbags installed in vehicles from 12 automakers, including Tesla. According to the agency’s investigation into the inflators, they have been the cause of at least eight incidents involving two deaths and seven injuries. However, ARC Automotive refuses to comply with the NHTSA’s demands, claiming the defect does not exist in the inflators and that any issues found were related to isolated manufacturing issues. The agency estimates at least 33 million vehicles on the road are believed to contain faulty airbag inflators, risking the lives of millions.
On October 5, 2023, the NHTSA will hold a public meeting to review their original findings. For more information on the ARC airbag inflators or if you believe you are in possession of one of the affected Tesla vehicles and have suffered an injury, contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney today.
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What Is the Cause of the ARC Airbag Inflator Defect?
Based on an investigation conducted by the NHTSA, it believes that ruptures may result from the weld slag produced by the friction welding manufacturing process. The report states, “Should weld slag of a sufficient size become dislodged, it can cause a blockage of the inflator exit orifice when the airbag deploys. A blockage of sufficient size will cause 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.” Roughly seven people have been injured by the rupturing air bag inflators, and there has been one reported death in the United States.
However, ARC claims that the NHTSA’s investigation reports are false and refuses to abide by their demands to issue a recall for the millions of airbag inflators used in vehicles on the road today. On October 5, 2023, the NHTSA will hold a public meeting to review their original findings.
Is This the Same Issue As the Takata Airbags?
While both the ARC and Takata issues involve airbag inflators, both recalls stem from different issues. Created by the now-bankrupt Japanese company known as the Takata Corporation, the Takata airbag inflators were installed in vehicles from 2002 through 2015. An investigation by the NHTSA deemed that the millions of vehicles fitted with Takata airbag inflators were a safety risk for drivers and their passengers and should be recalled.
The root cause of the exploding Takata airbags comes from the design and the chemical compound the company used to inflate the airbags. The airbag design had a metal cartridge loaded with ammonium-nitrate-based propellant, a "cost-efficient" fertilizer and highly flammable chemical typically found in bombs. Takata did not include a chemical drying agent when loading the compound into the metal cartridge.
Without the drying agent, things like environmental changes, high temperatures, the aging of the airbag, or an accident could cause the inflator's housing to rupture. This rupture can propel metal shards from the airbag throughout the passenger cabin, leaving those in the vehicle with severe injuries or, in some cases, can lead to death. Read more about the Takata recalls here.
What Is an Airbag Inflator?
Since the 1999 model year, the federal government has required automakers to install driver and passenger airbags for frontal impact protection in all vehicles. In order for an airbag to deploy, it requires an inflator. The inflator is installed inside an airbag to produce a quantity of gas with a certain composition, temperature, and controlled rate. In the case of an accident or certain injury scenarios, the inflator will fill the airbag system to sufficiently cushion an automobile occupant’s upper body and head. The NHTSA estimates their use has saved more than 50,000 lives in the time they have been required.
Should I Disable My Vehicle’s Airbags?
Drivers are urged not to disable nor tamper with their airbags. While the ARC airbag inflators do pose a risk to drivers' safety, disabling or tampering with your airbags could put you at further risk of severe injuries in accidents. If you are concerned about the safety of your vehicle's airbags, we highly urge you to contact your Tesla dealer to learn more about what your best options are. According to the NHTSA, drivers will have no warning signs if the airbag is defective. Concerned drivers should take prompt action and ensure their vehicle’s airbags are safe by contacting their local Tesla dealer.
Is My Tesla Affected by the Defective ARC Airbag Inflators?
The NHTSA believes roughly 52 million defective airbag inflators were manufactured by Delphi Automotive and ARC Automotive between 2000 and 2018 and incorporated into airbags used by 12 auto manufacturers, including Tesla. Customers can verify if their vehicle is affected by the recall by contacting their local Tesla dealer or by entering their vehicle's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the NHTSA’s search engine.
Which Airbags in My Tesla Are Affected?
Depending on the type of vehicle you own, the placement of the defective airbags may vary. To learn more information, owners may enter their car's vehicle identification number into the NHTSA recall search engine. It will provide you with information on whether the driver-side, passenger-side, or both frontal airbags in their vehicle are included in the recall. Customers are also urged to contact their local Tesla dealer for more information on the affected vehicles.
What Injuries Can Defective Airbag Inflators Cause?
Airbags are safety features in vehicles created with the purpose of aiding in our protection during an accident. However, when airbags with defects are installed into vehicles, they can not only fail to protect us during an accident but cause even more harm to the driver or passengers. The most common injuries drivers and their passengers have experienced due to a defective airbag include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Black eyes
- Brain injury or concussion
- Broken bones
- Compound fractures
- Facial or cranial fractures
- Hearing loss
- Neck Injury
- Permanent scarring
- Rib, sternum and/or clavicle fractures
- Serious cuts or avulsions
- Spinal fractures
- Vision damage
- Vocal damage
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or have lost their life due to a defective airbag, our attorneys may be able to help. Learn more today by completing our free case evaluation form.
What Forms of Compensation Are Victims Eligible To Recover?
If you have suffered an injury or have lost a loved one due to a defective airbag, you may be eligible to recover one or more of the following forms of financial compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- and more.
Tesla customers should keep in mind that every case will vary on what they may be eligible to recover depending on the level of damage sustained due to the defective airbags. For more information on what you may be eligible to recover, victims can contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney by completing our case evaluation form.
Do I Need to Contact a Morgan & Morgan Attorney?
While you can file a claim on your own, contacting an attorney can greatly boost your chances of recovering the damages you or your loved ones have suffered due to the defective ARC airbag inflators. In order to ensure you are maximizing your chances when fighting back against major auto companies, victims can place their trust in the hands of a Morgan & Morgan attorney. For over 35 years, our law firm has been dedicated to helping our clients get the justice they deserve after they've been injured in an accident.
At Morgan & Morgan, our law firm has a track record of taking on the automotive industry and ensuring our clients have the best opportunity to recover the most out of their injury cases. Our attorneys have the experience and the largest resources in the country to help you take on major auto companies like ARC and Delphi.
For more information on how a Morgan & Morgan attorney can help your case, or if you have questions regarding the ARC airbag inflators recall, contact our law firm today by completing our free, no-obligation case evaluation form.
Can I Afford to Hire a Morgan & Morgan Attorney?
At Morgan & Morgan, we believe everyone should have access to legal representation regardless of their financial situation. This is why we abide by the phrase, “The fee is free unless we win.” What does this mean exactly? Well, our attorneys work on what is known as a contingency, meaning your injury attorney will only get paid if we win your case. Our fees will come out of a portion of your settlement and never out of your pockets. For more information on how a contingency fee works or how you can afford a Morgan & Morgan attorney, contact us today.