Hyundai Kia Seatbelt Airbag Malfunction

Were you injured in a car accident where your seatbelt failed to lock? Did the airbags in your Hyundai or Kia fail to deploy upon impact? You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Jason Turchin, our team of Florida products liability attorneys help clients who have suffered injuries due to defective auto parts every day. Call Jason Turchin today at (800) 337-7755 to see how we can help you.

While injuries during a collision cannot be completely prevented, auto manufacturers have made significant strides at minimizing harm to drivers and passengers by implementing a number of safety features. If you ask anyone what keeps you safe in a car, almost all will immediately say the seat belts, which are followed closely by the airbags. It is not safe to drive without either.

In most cars, the seat belt pretensioners and the airbags are enabled by sensors. Have you ever hit the brakes a little too hard and felt the pull on your seat belt holding you in place? Those are your pretensioners, and they are designed so that you are secured in place in the event of a sudden stop, unexpected movement, or collision. The pretensioners are enabled as soon as you buckle in, and without them, your seat belt is not entirely effective in protecting you from injury during a crash.

Airbags are similarly enabled by sensors, usually based on weight or height of the occupants. You may have noticed when you place heavy items like books or groceries on the passenger seat, a notification on the dashboard or symbol indicating that passenger airbag has now been enabled. This is because the sensors detected that something, possibly a person, was in the seat and thus in need of airbag protection.

Your airbags and seat belts are two of the most important safety features in your car, but if one or both don’t work properly, you could be seriously injured.

Disabled Airbags and Seat Belt Pretensioners

After a lengthy investigation, TRW Automotive Inc. notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in August 2018 of a recall regarding defective ZF Airbag Control Units in certain Kia and Hyundai models. TRW explained in their safety recall report that in the event of a collision, the ZF Airbag Control Units may be damaged due to electrical overstress, which would prevent the frontal airbags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying.

According to NHTSA, nearly 728,000 Kias and Hyundais may have been built with defective ZF Airbag Control Units.

Vehicles that are subject to this recall include:

  • Kia Forte 2010-2013
  • Kia Optima 2011-2013
  • Kia Optima Hybrid 2011-2012
  • Kia Sedona 2011-2012
  • Hyundai Sonata 2011-2013
  • Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 2011-2012

Can Kia or Hyundai be Liable for My Injuries?

The ZF Airbag Control Unit in the above vehicles has a design defect, meaning that the unit is defective because of the way it was designed. In this case, the unit is designed in a way that makes it susceptible to electrical overstress, which in turn causes it to stop working entirely.

The manufacturer, Kia and Hyundai respectively, can be liable for injuries that were caused by defective automotive parts if the plaintiff can show that:

  1. He suffered an actual injury.
  2. The defective airbags or defective seat belt pretensioners were the proximate cause of his injuries
  3. He was using the airbags and seat belts as per their intended use.
  4. The manufacturer knew or should have known that the ZF Airbag Control Units were defective, and did not repair or remove the defective unit from the market; and failed to warn drivers and owners about the defective units.

Airbags and seat belts are some of the most essential components that help to ensure the safe transport of drivers and passengers during every day travel. When either fail to protect you from harm, those who had a duty to keep you safe in your car should be held liable for your injuries.

If you were injured in an accident when the airbags or seat belt pretensioners in your Kia or Hyundai failed, you may be entitled to recover for your pain and suffering. The products liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Jason Turchin have represented many victims of defective airbags and other automotive parts. To get started on your claim, call us today at (800) 337-7755. It’s always a free consultation!

Products LiabilityAutomotive DefectsTW Automotive Investigation ChronologyRecall Acknowledgement

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