Defective Volkswagen Airbags

Volkswagen Airbag Lawsuit

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Volkswagen Airbag Lawsuit

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is placing pressure on ARC Automotive to recall 67 million potentially dangerous airbag inflators after two people have been killed in the United States and Canada and at least seven others injured due to the ARC inflators. According to the agency, due to a defect, the airbag inflators explode with too much force and expel shrapnel, endangering the lives of those in the driver and passenger seats. The explosions, which first occurred in 2009, have continued, some of which are as recent as this year. The inflators are believed to have been installed in vehicles from at least 12 automakers, including the German automotive company Volkswagen.

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  • Why Is the NHTSA Demanding a Recall of the ARC Airbag Inflators?

    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.

  • Has Volkswagen Issued a Recall for Vehicles With ARC Airbag Inflators?

    On July 27, 2022, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. issued a recall for certain vehicles after an investigation into a claim that an ARC airbag inflator ruptured in a 2016 A3 e-Tron during a crash. The recall affected roughly 1,216 vehicles, and customers were offered replacements of the front-passenger airbag module free of charge. The vehicles affected by the 2022 recall included the 2016 Audi TT Roadster, TT Coupe, S3 Sedan, R8 Coupe, A3 Sedan, A3 Etron, A3 Cabriolet, 2016 Golf Sportwagen, Golf R, Golf GTI, Golf A7, and E Golf vehicles. The NHTSA listed this recall under the number 22V543000.

  • 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.

  • What Injuries Can Defective Airbags 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, broken bones, brain injuries, burns, neck injuries, lacerations, and even death. 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.

  • Should I Disable My Vehicle’s Airbags?

    No. While the ARC airbag inflators do pose a risk to drivers' safety, disabling 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 Volkswagen dealership to learn more about what your best options are. According to the NHTSA, drivers will have no warning signs if the airbag is defective. Therefore, if you are concerned, take prompt action and ensure your vehicle’s airbags are safe.

  • How Do I Know If My Volkswagen Is Affected by the ARC Airbag Inflators?

    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 Volkswagen. Customers can verify if their vehicle is affected by the ARC inflators by contacting their local Volkswagen dealership or by entering their vehicle's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the NHTSA’s search engine.

  • Can Victims Recover Compensation?

    Depending on the level of damage sustained due to the defective airbags, the amount of compensation you may be eligible to recover will vary. With that said, 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. 

    For more information on what you may be eligible to recover, victims can contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney by completing our 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. To learn more about how a contingency fee works or how you can afford a Morgan & Morgan attorney, contact us today.

  • Should I 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, contact our law firm today by completing our free, no-obligation case evaluation form.

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