Exploding Air Bag Sets Off Volvo Recall
No, this time it was not Takata’s fault. The inflators were produced by a company called ZF/TRW, and the NHTSA believes that this inflator suffered a similar catastrophic failure as the Takata airbags that set off one of the largest auto part recall and litigation events in human history.
The Takata airbags were recalled after it became known that they were prone to exploding in certain climates. The airbags would inflate with such force that they killed a reported 26 people, one just recently.
The NHTSA is reviewing the data with Volvo concerning vehicles equipped with these inflators. This is the first known example of a ZF/TRW inflator causing a Takata-like failure.
A man was driving a very old Volvo (1981 – 1983) when he got into an accident and his airbag deployed. The airbag sent metal shrapnel into the man’s skull and killed him instantly. Volvo has initiated a voluntary recall of up to 54,000 vehicles.
Vehicles fitted with Takata airbags had a similar problem. Takata used an ammonium nitrate explosion to rapidly inflate the airbags. But the chemical deteriorates over time when it’s exposed to humid climates. This causes the canister to blow apart sending shrapnel everywhere inside the cabin of the car. ZF/TRW did not use ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbag, so the cause of this explosion is unknown.
Volvo has pledged to replace the airbags free of charge. Since the vehicles are so old, there are only around 12,000 or so remaining on the road, a testament to Volvo’s engineering. Nonetheless, since neither the government nor Volvo knows why the explosion occurred, they are taking the safest path, recalling the vehicles, and installing a new airbag.
While airbags exploding is sensational enough to warrant a lot of media attention, the majority of airbag lawsuits are quite pedestrian and have the opposite problem: they didn’t deploy at all. In cases where an airbag does not deploy in an accident, the driver can suffer head trauma, whiplash, concussion, brain injury, or death. Since the driver purchased the vehicle with a guarantee of a functioning airbag, they are entitled not only to recover the cost of the vehicle, but also any medical expenses, lost wages, or reduced quality of life issues they experience as a result of the accident.
This is true even when the accident may be their fault. That’s because they, like everyone else who purchased a vehicle, were guaranteed a functioning airbag. So even when the accident is their fault, the malfunctioning airbag contributed to the severity of their injuries, and it’s on that basis that they can file a lawsuit.
Talk to a Florida Defective Auto Parts Attorney
If a malfunctioning auto part contributed to your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against several parties that were involved in the manufacture and distribution of the defective part. Call the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to learn more about how we can help.