Airbag Recalls: What to Do If Your Vehicle Is Affected

Mar 29, 2024Airbag Recalls

Over the past several years, nearly all major automotive manufacturers have issued recalls related to airbag defects. These recalls involve airbags manufactured by two companies—Takata and ARC—and they involve issues that present risks for serious (and even fatal) injuries. In this article, a defective airbag lawyer explains what you should do if your vehicle is affected.

What To Do About Defective Airbags According to the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for overseeing all vehicle recalls in the United States. This includes the pending recalls for Takata and ARC airbags. While ARC has disputed that its airbags are defective, the Takata recalls have been ongoing for several years, and Takata filed for bankruptcy as a result of the recalls (and related lawsuits) in 2017.

While the Takata recalls affect vehicles sold by most major automotive manufacturers, to date only General Motors (GM) has issued a recall involving defective ARC airbags. If you have a GM vehicle that is subject to the ARC recall, you should contact your local dealership to see about having your vehicle’s airbags replaced as soon as possible.

The situation with Takata’s defective airbags is a bit more complicated.

In total, approximately 67 million vehicles sold in the United States are covered by the Takata airbag recalls. This is an extraordinarily high number, and it means that dealerships have been unable to replace all affected airbags in a timely fashion. The NHTSA is overseeing a phased approach, and it provides some tips for vehicle owners who have questions. These tips include:

  • Schedule an appointment with your local dealership to have your vehicle’s defective airbags replaced for free as soon as possible.
  • If the dealership refuses to provide free replacements for airbags that are subject to a Takata recall, “you should notify the manufacturer immediately . . . [and] file a complaint with NHTSA.”
  • Do not ask your dealership to disable your vehicle’s airbags if it cannot replace them immediately. This is because, “[i]t is much more likely that your airbag will perform properly and protect you in a crash than cause harm.”
  • Find out if your vehicle’s manufacturer is recommending against having front seat passengers before your airbags are replaced, “and, if that is the case for your vehicle, you should follow these instructions.”
  • “If you feel uncomfortable continuing to drive your vehicle before it is repaired . . . contact your dealer to see if [it] will provide a loaner until the repair is completed.”

While the NHTSA hasn’t directly recommended against driving most vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags, there are some exceptions. The following vehicles are subject to a “Critical Do Not Drive Warning” according to the federal agency:

  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL
  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL
  • Certain 2000-2006 BMW 3 Series (E46) models, including M3
  • Certain 2000-2003 BMW 5 Series (E39) models, including M5
  • Certain 2000-2004 BMW X5s (E53) models
  • 2005-2010 Chrysler 300
  • 2005-2010 Dodge Magnum
  • 2005-2010 Dodge Charger
  • 2005-2010 Dodge Challenger
  • 2003 Dodge Ram 1500
  • Certain 2006 Ford Ranger trucks
  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks

What To Do if Your Vehicle’s Defective Airbags Cause You (or a Loved One) Harm

So, that’s an overview of what you should do if your vehicle is subject to an airbag recall and its airbags haven’t failed. But what should you do if they have?

If you or a loved one has suffered airbag-related injuries, you should speak with a defective airbag lawyer as soon as possible. While Takata has filed for bankruptcy (and has since been sold), individuals who suffer airbag-related injuries and families who lose loved ones to fatal airbag-related injuries can hold their vehicles’ manufacturers accountable. Numerous lawsuits have already been filed, and victims and families across the country have obtained settlements covering the financial and non-financial costs of injuries caused by defective airbags.

If you have a claim against a vehicle manufacturer for airbag-related injuries, an experienced defective airbag lawyer will be able to file and pursue your (or your family’s) claim on your behalf. Your lawyer will work quickly to gather the evidence needed to prove your claim, and your lawyer will work closely with you to assess your total financial and non-financial losses. Then, your lawyer will seek to secure a favorable settlement offer from the manufacturer, and if the manufacturer refuses to settle for just compensation, your lawyer will take your claim to court.

While filing a claim takes time, asserting your legal rights is an important step in the recovery process. Airbag-related injuries can prove incredibly expensive, and you should not be forced to bear the costs of Takata’s or ARC’s mistakes for years to come. The law holds automotive manufacturers responsible for the components they choose to install in their vehicles, and when they install defective components, holding them accountable helps to prevent similar issues in the future.

The First Step Toward Recovering Just Compensation for Injuries from a Defective Airbag

The first step toward hiring a defective airbag lawyer to file a claim is scheduling a free consultation. This is completely risk-free, and it is your opportunity to learn about your legal rights. If you have a claim and you hire a lawyer to represent you, you should not have to pay anything out of pocket, and you should not have to pay anything at all unless your claim is successful. If you receive just compensation for your (or your loved one’s) airbag-related injuries, your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your settlement or verdict.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with an Experienced Defective Airbag Lawyer for Free

Do you need to know more about filing a defective airbag claim against a vehicle manufacturer? If so, we encourage you to contact us to arrange your free consultation. To speak with an experienced defective airbag lawyer as soon as possible, please give us a call or tell us about your claim online today.