GM Ignition Switch Airbag Failure Lawsuit What To Know

Michael Bennett
November 22, 2016 - 1413 Views

In recent years, there have been multiple lawsuits filed against airbag manufacturers and companies like GM, that install airbags on vehicles as required by law. Because of airbag failures and resulting injuries or deaths from those failures, many owners of GM model vehicles are now participating in a GM airbag lawsuit. Drivers and passengers who have been injured or died due to airbag failure to perform properly are seeking fair compensation through the legal system. This is an accepted method for seeking retribution after someone has been injured or killed due to negligence by a company or an individual.

GM Airbag

One of the biggest vehicle safety issues consumers need to take action on involves failures of GM Airbag protection. GM has issued recalls on many recent models that may have faulty airbags. It is essential that consumers take action to get those airbags replaced quickly. There have been many injuries and a few deaths attributed to airbag failures in recent years. The problem goes back several years, so there is a long line of models on the recall list.

The purpose of an airbag is to protect a vehicle occupant from becoming injured due to a collision with interior parts of the vehicle during that accident. Airbags are supposed to instantly inflate when there is any detection of a collision or fast deceleration prior to a collision. It provides a cushion between the human and the hard parts of the vehicle, such as the steering wheel, dashboard or side panels and windows. The design of the airbag is a critical component of the plan to provide protection to consumers, and those users depend on the airbag to function properly when needed. If the airbag fails, serious injuries or death may result.

Several million recalls were issued in prior years to address problems with airbags produced by Takata, a producer of airbags used worldwide. The latest recall addresses issues of failure that occur in a software system that activates the airbags and seatbelts. GM airbags are currently a subject of concern for many people, as recalls have now been issued for airbags that were installed on several GM model vehicles. The recalls are an attempt to resolve the problem prior to anyone becoming injured due to airbag failure.

Airbag Failures

There are several ways airbags may fail and result in harm to occupants of a vehicle. In some instances, a special inflator device contained within the airbags has exploded upon activation. The device is supposed to cause rapid expansion of the airbag to provide needed protection, but due to some malfunction, the device either did not work at all, activated prematurely, or it expanded so quickly it exploded. Upon explosion, this inflator shattered, causing shards of metal to penetrate through the airbag material, and this resulted in harm to passengers or drivers. Some deaths have been attributed to this type of airbag failure.

The latest GM airbag failures are due to a software issue. The software activates the airbag inflator device when an impact is detected. Although the Takata airbag recall was government mandated, this GM airbag recall is voluntary. GM issued recalls for approximately 3.64 million vehicles in the United States. Vehicles affected are the 2014-17 model years. The specific part of concern is a sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) that control deployment of the airbag and pretensioners. The SDM contains software that has a defect that would then prevent deployment when it actually is needed.

Lawsuits – GM Airbags

Lawsuits are a method for obtaining fair compensation and justice when someone has been injured by another person or company in some way that created financial burdens, physical harm or death. In the case of airbags, there have already been millions of participants in various individual and class action lawsuits against manufacturers and companies that used defective airbags in their vehicles. The defects may have happened during a design, manufacturing or installation process.

  • Negligence – This is a standard feature of defective product lawsuits. The consumer has a right to expect that products will be safe and function as promised and not cause harm to the user. If there are negligence based defects in product design, manufacture or installation, and those defects result in product failure leading to harm or death, a lawsuit may be a proper response.
  • Fair Compensation – Airbag injuries can be simple, like bruising or small cuts, or they can be complex and result in severe injuries or death. Fair compensation for airbag injuries can include all related expenses, including: emergency medical treatment at the scene, hospital fees, payment to doctors, nurses, and other medical care personnel, rehabilitation costs, special equipment, job retraining, lost income and other financial losses. If the injured person dies, survivors may file airbag lawsuits for personal losses of guardianship, companionship and consortium, and for financial losses their loved one would have provided, such as income and future inheritance.

In the most recent recall efforts, GM notified owners of almost 30,000 2013 and 2014 Chevy Cruze vehicles to bring their vehicles in for replacement of possibly defective Takata airbags. Dealers will update the software for free, and owners are encouraged to check their Vehicle Identification Number immediately to see if their vehicle has been recalled for this or any other reason. The VIN can be checked at the GM website or safercar.gov. Another online resource that features a full list of recalls in 2016 is found at:

Super List of Takata Airbag Recall Cars and Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that about 28 million vehicles have defective airbags that need replacement. GM models account for a good portion of that figure, and the company has issued recalls to owners to bring their vehicles in to a dealer for correction of defective software and/or replacement of the airbags.

GM airbag lawsuits are still ongoing, with several class action lawsuits in progress. These class action lawsuits do not include every state, so concerned owners should first double check with the GM website or safercar.gov to see if their vehicle is one that has been issued a recall. If so, they may want to consult with an attorney who is experienced in this area of law practice to determine their eligibility to join any existing lawsuit action or to start an individual lawsuit.

Some recent recalls include the following GM models:

  • 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS and Spark EV
  • 2014-2017 Buick Encore, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice and Silverado
  • 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra HD and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV

It is important to check your VIN number on a GM vehicle to see if there are any existing recalls issued and get the needed repairs. Dealers have the parts and are ready to make replacements at no cost; they also may be able to check for recalls that apply to your vehicle. Safety on the road is a top priority for all.

Michael Bennett

About Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.