AIRBAG DEFECTS


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Cincinnati Airbag Defect Attorney

Cincinnati, Ohio Auto Defect Attorney reviewing Defective Airbags and Airbag Failure Lawsuits for plaintiffs nationwide

Defective airbags may not deploy in the event of an accident or collision. Other defective airbags deploy inadvertently and cause an accident. Other airbag defects reported include delayed airbag deployment and non-deployment, leading to severe injury.

Since the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration began recording crash statistics, 264 Americans have passed away as a direct cause of defective airbags. For reasons unknown, 1997 was the worst year for fatal air bag accidents with 53 casualties, 31 of which were children. However, these are only the reported events. Many additional deaths and disabling injuries have been linked to defective airbags through litigation.

In addition, recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated its list of vehicles that contain airbags that can kill drivers or passengers when the defective airbags are released. The number of vehicles with immediate risk of these dangerous airbags stands at tens of millions.

These vehicles have Takata airbags that may shoot metal when airbags are inflated, release with too much force, or not release at all. Four people have already died from this severe issue. Medical professionals initially thought one woman’s death was a stabbing.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati auto recall attorney and Ohio Auto Defect lawyer who has successfully represented plaintiffs throughout the United States in multiple complex product liability cases. These cases are generally filed in Federal Court, though State Court options may be available in certain cases.

If you or a family member have been injured by a recalled airbag device and need a defective airbag lawyer, contact The Lyon Firm today for a no-cost consultation at (800) 513-2403 to learn more about your legal rights.

How are Airbags Defective?

Airbags unquestionably have saved lives. However, airbags that are not functioning properly can not only provide a false sense of security but can contribute to and even be the primary cause of an injury or death.

Design defects, negligent auto repairs, and manufacturing defects have all been suspected in airbag defect lawsuits. Airbags can be recalled to due any of the following defective parts:

  • Sensors: non-deployment
  • Dangerous Inflation path (upward and then outward is the safest path for the release of an airbag)
  • Overly-powerful inflation (unnecessarily forceful impact)
  • Internal Tethers (affecting the shape the airbag is released in)
  • Release of metal fragments
  • Delayed Airbag Deployment
  • Inadvertent Airbag Deployment

 

Airbag Nondeployment

Manufacturing defects, design defects and negligent auto repairs have all been suspected in defective airbag lawsuits.

Generally an airbag will deploy when a sufficient force hits a threshold and initiates the release of the airbag. But there may be defective sensors in an automobile, and an airbag may not deploy at all, or may deploy only partially or late. In such cases, severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries and permanent disabilities are possible.

Manufacturers can improperly design, test, or install sensors. Failures in software or calibration of the airbag firing threshold can cause an airbag sensor to not detect a collision. Other causes of airbag non-deployment may include:

  • Airbag Module Defect: a defective airbag module may prevent an airbag from firing during an accident. This is most likely the result of inherent design or manufacturing defects.
  • Poor airbag design
  • Cheap construction materials
  • Negligent manufacturing
  • Auto Repair Negligence
  • Faulty Steering Wheel Wiring
  • Corroded or severed electronics: Airbag failures can occur when manufacturers choose to run wires through areas that make them vulnerable to being severed during a crash. If sensor wiring is damaged or severed, signals will fail to reach the airbag module and it will not deploy.
  • Defective software
  • Improper testing & quality control

Airbag Defects

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has repeatedly warned that tens of millions of cars with Takata airbags face an increased risk of exploding during a collision after prolonged exposure to warm weather and humid conditions.

The NHTSA says, “Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed. Such explosions have caused injuries and deaths.”

In the United States there are 50 million defective Takata airbags in 37 million vehicles. Many of them are in states such as Texas, California, and Ohio, where hot, humid summer weather can cause the chemical propellant in defective Takata airbags to explode.

Any vehicle with a defective airbag may be a safety risk, and the NHTSA has warned that more vehicles will soon be recalled, bringing the total number of recalled Takata air bags to between 65 million and 70 million by 2019.

Airbag Recalls

In April 2013, six automobile makers were involved in the initial Takata recall. The issue quickly engulfed 19 automakers, and Takata was soon inundated with hundreds of lawsuits. The company failed to act quickly, and more accidents were reported. Takata said it had little idea as to which cars used its defective inflators, or even what the root cause was.

Takata first explained that propellant chemicals were improperly stored during assembly, causing metal airbag inflators to burst open due to excessive pressure inside. Then, the company blamed humid weather which was accompanied with additional recalls.

Takata has now admitted that rust and bad welds on inflators are also at fault. Company documents show that Takata’s Mexico plant allowed a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits. Defective air bags were shipped and sold to millions of customers.

Takata, under fire for years, finally filed for bankruptcy-court protection in the U.S. and Japan, as the company faces billions of dollars in legal liabilities resulting from years of recalls and lawsuits.

Takata’s recalled air bag inflators have been linked to at least 180 injuries and 20 deaths. Automakers such as Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Honda Motor and Mazda have paid huge settlements to settle personal injury and product liability claims. It is the largest auto recall in United States history.

Delayed Deployment

In the spring of 2014, 2005-2006 GM Cobalts and 2003-2005 GM Ions were recalled due to an ignition switch issue related to failed airbag deployments. The NHTSA has received much ridicule over the fact that such vehicles were not recalled much sooner.

The organization attempted to defend itself by arguing that there were more vehicles with consumer injury-crash complaints than these two models. Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been recalled for delayed airbag deployment.

However, a recent analysis has found no statistically significant difference between the crash complaints filed regarding the Cobalt or Ion and any other vehicles. The organization then went on to say that GM did not provide them with sufficient information, when in reality, it appears that the NHTSA simply did not choose to run the required analyses.

Chrysler Airbag Recall

Chrysler issued a recall on Dodge 2003-2004 (NHSTA ID 13V040) due to inadvertent air bag deployment.  This is a very serious problem that can lead to severe injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia  and death especially with children and the elderly.

Another Fiat Chrysler recall from September 2017 indicates that 210,000 Dodge Grand Caravans had an airbag defect–specifically the steering wheel wiring was misplaced and could result in inadvertent airbag deployment.

airbag failure lawsuits

Honda Air Bag Recalls

Honda is recalling certain model year 2003 and 2004 Odyssey and model year 2003 Acura MDX vehicles. Due to electrical noise, a component in the air bag control module may fail causing the front air bags, side curtain air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operate.

Almost 120,000 2019 Honda CRV SUVs were recalled due to faulty wiring affecting the airbag functionality. Some accidents and injuries have already been reported.

Mercedes Air Bag Recall

Over 288,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been recalled to replace passenger-side front airbag inflators. A chemical in Takata airbags can become unstable over time, leading to non-deployment, delays in airbag deployment, and injuries related to the recalled Mercedes airbags. Defective airbags may rupture and shoot metal fragments into a vehicle, posing severe risks to passengers.

The Mercedes airbag defect in question may result in non-deployment or there may be a delayed deployment, placing passengers and drivers at risk following serious collisions.

Ford Air Bag Recall

Ford recalled around 953,000 vehicles worldwide to replace Takata passenger airbag inflators that may potentially explode and send deadly shrapnel into vehicles. The recall is part of the largest series of airbag recalls in U.S. history.

Takata, the company responsible for manufacturing the faulty airbags, used ammonium nitrate to induce an explosion to inflate air bags. But the chemical can change over time due to existing heat and humidity and may explode with too much force, destroying the metal canister meant to contain the explosion.

At least 23 people have been killed by the inflators, and many others injured worldwide. Ford announced that dealers will replace the inflators in seven Ford and Lincoln vehicles, including:

  • 2010 Ford Edge
  • 2010 Lincoln MKX
  • 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger
  • 2010-12 Ford Fusion
  • 2010-12 Lincoln MKZ
  • 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan
  • 2010-14 Ford Mustang

Inadvertent Deployment

Toyota is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Avalon, Avalon HV, Venza, Camry, and Camry HV vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the drain hose for the air conditioning condenser may become clogged causing water to accumulate at the bottom of the air conditioning condenser unit housing.

The accumulated water may then leak through a seam in the housing onto the air bag control module potentially resulting in a short circuit of the module.

Understanding Airbag Defect Cases

Has My Car Been Recalled?

Consumers can follow airbag recall news or search for current and past airbag recalls on the Website of the NHTSA, as well as on other car safety advocate outlets. Look on your car windshield for a 17-character Vehicle Identification Number. Your VIN is also located on your car’s registration card.

If your car is listed on a recall notice, contact your dealer and an auto defect attorney. 

If your car has been recalled and you have suffered an injury, contact an auto defect attorney to investigate a potential claim

Can I File an Airbag Defect Lawsuit?

If you have been injured by a defective airbag that failed to deploy or deployed inadvertently and caused injury, you may have a valuable product liability claim. Settlements are likely in the event of an airbag defect leading to consumer injury.

Your Auto Defect Lawyer is dedicated to holding auto companies accountable when they fail to properly test safety features and release defective products that injure the American consumer.
The Lyon Firm has filed numerous product liability and class action lawsuits against large auto companies and car makers for endangering consumers with defective airbags and other faulty auto components.

By holding companies responsible for their negligence and putting American drivers at risk, Joe Lyon and plaintiffs aim to reach a sizable settlement and make the roads safer in the future.

Did an Airbag Defect Cause my Injury?

When crucial safety features fail to function as they were intended, serious injuries are likely. If airbags fail to deploy or deploy when they shouldn’t they may be responsible for consumer injuries. 

Who is Responsible for Airbag Defects?

Auto manufacturers and car makers can be held liable in airbag defect lawsuits. Many automakers outsource some of their production and may not always be aware of some defects. Honda, for example, purchased all their defective airbags from Takata.

Why did my airbag deploy?

Faulty wiring within the steering wheel is suspected in many airbag deployment injury cases. A short circuit may cause the air bags to become disabled or inadvertently deploy. An inadvertent airbag deployment can increase the risk of injury or the possibility of a crash.

An inoperative airbag can increase the risk of injury in a severe crash. The power steering assist could also become inoperable resulting in increased steering effort and can increase the risk of a crash at low speeds.

What is the early history of airbag recalls?

On October 16th, 2014, Honda Motor Company opened its records to a third party investigation firm after allegations that the company was covering up its information regarding the true numbers of deaths and injuries associated with the Takata airbag recall incident. The Center for Auto Safety is responsible for the allegations and has based them on reports by similar automakers who have identified many more cases.

GM and Toyota have reported around 1,700 incidents each, whereas Honda has only reported 28. Honda’s defense is that under the TREAD Act, it is only required to report written, not verbal, complaints. However, the Center for Auto Safety is arguing that there are still written statements which have not been cited. Law360 reports.

On October 29th, 2014, consumers began to take legal action regarding the faulty airbags. Class action suits were filed in both Florida and California. The attorney for the Florida plaintiffs alluded to the trials ending up in Florida, since so many cases are suspected to be filed there; the state is expecting a large influx of these lawsuits against Takata because the humidity in this region (including Puerto Rico) makes the defective airbags explode more frequently.

The Florida judge set December 8th for a “hearing on the motion of expedited discovery”; the urgency stems from the plaintiff’s argument that these airbags may lead to further deaths if not handled properly and promptly. Law360 reports.

On October 30th, 2014, a Hawaiian Honda driver filed a potential class action in Los Angeles federal court against Takata Corporation and Honda Motor Company.

Furthermore, the NHTSA has ordered Takata to turnover several of their documents on airbags, including correspondence between Takata and motor companies regarding their recalled products.

Critics argue that the NHTSA should have taken such action in July at the latest. The NHTSA Deputy Administrator said they want Takata to release documents and answer questions under oath regarding the discrepancies involved in their airbags.

On November 7th, 2014, Californians hit Takata Corporation with yet another class action. The suit is brought against the company, alleging that it destroyed evidence, including videos and computer backups, that showed their airbag defects.

There are eight named plaintiffs from California, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Virginia, and Washington. The New York Times reported that former employees alluded to lab technicians being told by the company to destroy testing data that “showed cracks in the steel casings that house their airbag inflators.” Law360 reports.

On November 17th, 2014, a Florida family filed a lawsuit against Honda Motor Company and Takata, Inc. for issuing their recall of explosive air bags much too late. According to Law 360, Hien Thi Tran died in late September due to an accident in which the air bag deployed and sent sharp shrapnel all throughout her body.

The wounds were so bad that medical personnel initially thought she had been stabbed and police initially looked into her death as a homicide. This suit is coupled with numerous others that are springing up all over the country, and can be handled by a defective airbag lawyer.

Auto Defect Settlements

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against negligent automakers or airbag companies to obtain just compensation under the law. 

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