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GM Airbag Lawsuit

GM Airbag Lawsuit

After one person died and several people were injured by exploding airbags, GM recalled over 1 million vehicles to replace defective ARC airbag inflators that can shoot metal shrapnel.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting GM airbag induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured or died when a GM airbag exploded or failed to deploy, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Safety Warning: 52 Million ARC Airbag Inflators Are Defective

U.S. safety officials are warning that 52 million airbag inflators made by ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive Systems are dangerously defective.

These airbag inflators “could explode, hurl shrapnel and injure or kill people,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

ARC airbag inflators were made between 2000 and January 2018, and installed in vehicles sold by GM and 11 other auto-makers.

NHTSA investigators have found reports of 2 deaths and 7 injuries in the U.S. and Canada since 2009. GM vehicles were involved in 1 death and 3 of those injuries, according to the Investigation Report.

GM Recalls 1 Million Vehicles with ARC Airbags

In May 2023, GM recalled about 1 million vehicles with ARC airbags that can explode. According to the recall:

“A driver’s-side front airbag inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death.”

The recall includes the following GM vehicles:

  • 2014-2017 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 2014-2017 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2014-2017 Buick Enclave
  • 2014-2017 GMC Acadia

GM initiated the recall after being notified that a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse crashed and driver airbag inflator exploded on March 22, 2023. The driver survived, but was hit in the face by metal shrapnel.

Tragic Death of Mother Linked to Exploding Airbag in GM Vehicle

On August 15, 2021, a driver-side airbag inflator in a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan. The driver, a 39-year-old mother with 10 children, bled to death after she was hit in the neck by metal.

The lawsuit claims that pieces of the air bag inflator, steering wheel and steering column hit her in the chest, neck and head after her vehicle was struck by another car in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family.

3 Injuries Linked to ARC Airbag Explosions in GM Vehicles

Two people have died, and 7 others were injured by metal that blew out of an ARC airbag. Several injuries involved GM vehicles, including:

  • On September 22, 2017, a driver-side airbag inflator ruptured in a model-year 2010 Chevrolet Malibu in Pennsylvania. The driver suffered injuries to their face and head.
  • On October 20, 2021, a driver-side airbag inflator in a model-year 2015 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Kentucky. The driver suffered injuries to their face.
  • On March 22, 2023, a driver-side airbag inflator in a model-year 2017 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan. The driver suffered injuries to their face.

Other GM Recalls for ARC Airbags

GM has issued multiple earlier recalls for vehicles with ARC front-driver airbag inflators that can over-pressurize during airbag deployment and “propel pieces of the inflator and airbag module into the occupant compartment,” according to the recall notices.

These earlier recalls for ARC airbags from GM include:

  • December 21, 2018 — GM recalls 1,145 model-year 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet Malibu (Recall # 19V-019)
  • October 7, 2021 — GM recalls 555 model-year 2008-2017 Buick Enclave, 2013-2017 Chevrolet Traverse (Recall # 21V-782)
  • April 14, 2022 — GM recalls 2,687 model-year 2015 Buick Enclave, 2015 GMC Acadia, 2015 Chevrolet Traverse (Recall # 22V-246)
  • May 19, 2022 — GM recalls 74 vehicles for “driver air bag service replacement parts” (Recall # 22E-040)

Transport Canada Lists GM Vehicles with ARC Airbags

Transport Canada is investigating the following GM vehicles with a driver frontal airbag inflator that was produced by ARC Automotive:

Manufacturer Make Model Model Year
  Buick Enclave 2008-2017
  Buick LaCrosse 2005-2009, 2017
  Buick Rainier 2005-2007
  Buick Rendezvous 2004-2007
  Buick Terazza 2005-2007
  Cadillac ATS 2013-2017
  Cadillac CTS 2003-2007, 2014-2016
  Cadillac Deville 2004-2005
  Cadillac ELR 2014, 2016
  Cadillac Escalade 2003-2016
  Cadillac Escalade EXT 2003-2013
  Cadillac Escalade ESV 2003-2014
  Cadillac Seville 2003-2004
  Cadillac SRX 2004-2009
  Cadillac STS 2005
  Cadillac STS and STS-V 2006-2007
  Cadillac XLR 2004-2007
  Cadillac XTS 2013-2016
  Chevrolet Aveo 2004-2005
  Chevrolet Avalanche 2002-2013
  Chevrolet Cavalier 2003-2005
  Chevrolet Corvette C6 2005-2013
  Chevrolet Epica 2004
  Chevrolet Equinox 2005-2006
  Chevrolet Express 2003-2008
  Chevrolet Impala 2006-2010
  Chevrolet Malibu 2004-2005, 2008-2015
  Chevrolet Monte Carlo 2006-2010
  Chevrolet Silverado 2003-2013
  Chevrolet Suburban 2002-2014
  Chevrolet Tahoe 2003-2014
  Chevrolet SSR 2003-2006
  Chevrolet TrailBlazer 2004
  Chevrolet Trailblazer/EXT 2005-2009
  Chevrolet Traverse 2009-2017
  Chevrolet Venture 2004-2005
  Chevrolet Uplander 2005-2009
  GMC Acadia 2007-2016
  GMC Envoy 2004
  GMC Envoy/XL/XUV 2005-2009
  GMC Savana 2003-2008
  GMC Sierra 2003-2013
  GMC Yukon 2003-2013
  GMC Yukon XL 2003-2013
  Hummer H2 2003-2007
  Hummer H3 2006-2010
  Hummer H3T 2009-2010
  Oldsmobile Bravada 2004-2005
  Oldsmobile Silhouette 2004
  Pontiac Bonneville 2004-2005
  Pontiac G6 2005-2009
  Pontiac Montana 2004-2005
  Pontiac Montana SV6 2005-2009
  Pontiac Sunfire 2003-2005
  Pontiac Torrent 2006
  Saab 9-7X 2005-2009
  Saturn Aura 2007-2009
  Saturn Outlook 2007-2010
  Saturn Relay 2005-2009
  Saturn Vue 2004-2007

Safety Officials Investigating GM Airbag Failures on 750,000 Vehicles

In April 2021, federal safety officials opened an investigation into complaints of airbag failures on thousands of GM vehicles, according to the Associated Press.

The investigation covers about 750,000 Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles from the 2020 and 2021 model-years.

Back in March 2021, GM issued a service bulletin to dealers, warning that rust particles can accumulate on the driver’s airbag connection terminal. This could cause the airbag malfunction light to turn on. It could also stop the airbags from inflating. No recalls were announced.

The investigation was opened after 15 complaints of air bag malfunctions, including 6 crashes with 8 injuries. “Six crash incidents have significant frontal collision damage where driver frontal air bags failed to deploy,” according to agency documents.

The affected vehicles are Chevrolet Silverado pickups, GMC Sierra pickups, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs, Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans, and XT4 SUVs.

Airbag Failure Lawsuits

A growing number of lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured when the airbags failed to deploy in a car accident. These lawsuits accuse car-makers of selling vehicles with a deadly defect — specifically, the airbags do not work in an emergency.

What Happens When Airbags Fail to Deploy?

Airbags are essential safety features on a vehicle, and when they fail, passengers who were supposed to be protected can die or suffer devastating injuries.

Drivers can hit the steering wheel, dashboard and windshield. Passengers can slam into the interior of the vehicle. The victims may suffer facial injuries, broken bones, organ damage, internal bleeding, permanent scarring from lacerations, or death.

Why Do Airbags Fail?

  1. The type of collision: Airbags are not supposed to deploy after minor collisions, fender-benders, and most rear-end collisions. However, some serious accidents might fail to trigger the airbags, including certain rollovers and side-impact collisions.
  2. Defective airbag sensors: The airbags will only deploy if the sensors correctly detect that the vehicle has hit a solid object. Furthermore, the software must be calibrated to correctly determine that the impact was severe enough to meet the firing threshold. The airbags will not deploy if the sensors do not work.
  3. Electrical malfunction: Airbags can fail when there is a problem with the electrical system that transmits the signal from the sensors to the airbag system. This problem sometimes occurs due to faulty clock springs in the steering column.
  4. Poorly designed vehicles: Airbags can fail when car-manufacturers make bad design choices, routing wires through areas that are vulnerable to being severed in a car accident.
  5. Defective airbags: The airbag’s manufacturer might be responsible when the vehicle correctly senses the impact and transmits a signal to the airbag, but the airbag module simply failed to respond. This may be due to poor quality control, design flaws, and manufacturing defects.

Do I have a GM Airbag Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting GM airbag induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured or died when a GM airbag exploded or failed to deploy, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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