NHTSA Investigates Defective ZF-TRW Airbags Linked to Several Deaths

April 30, 2019 / 9:04 am

Colson Hicks Eidson is a Miami-based trial firm seeking to improve awareness on issues related to the safety and well-being of our community. Our legal knowledge, decades of experience and presence in the community are among the top reasons clients choose us to help them. For more information, speak with a car defect attorney at our firm. 

An announcement recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 19, 2019, stated that the agency will be expanding an investigation into the defective ZF-TRW airbags control units. The ZF-TRW airbags units have been linked to several car accident deaths in the past three years.

NHTSA Investigates the ZF-TRW Airbag

The investigation into the ZF-TRW airbag control units, produced by the supplier ZF-TRW (ZF), was upgraded to an “engineering analysis” and expanded to now include the auto manufacturers that used the defective airbags in their cars.

The defect found in the airbag control unit is reported to be within its electronic component, called Application Specific Integrated Circuit or ASIC. The ASIC monitors the signals from the crash sensors for the purpose of responding with the proper airbag deployment in the event of a car crash.

Currently, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) believes that, while the chances of it happening are low, a car crash could be responsible for producing the harmful signals which damage the ASIC. The NHTSA report mentions, the ASIC “may suffer electrical overstress due to harmful signals produced by the crash event.”

Investigators state in the report that there is electrical circuity incorporated within the ACU that protects the ASIC from harmful signals. However, the level of protection ultimately depends on the auto manufacturer.

Vehicles Affected by Potentially Defective Airbags

ZF supplied the airbag control units to six auto manufacturers: Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Fiat Chrysler Automotive and Toyota. These manufacturers collectively installed the ZF-TRW airbag control units in approximately 12.3 million vehicles over the past decade.

ZF-TRW Airbag Recalls

According to the Washington Post, Kia and Hyundai recalled nearly 1.1 million vehicles last year due to the ZF-TRW airbags. Fiat Chrysler recalled approximately 1.9 million vehicles worldwide in 2016. To date, only Hyundai, Fiat Chrysler, and Kia have issued recalls for this defect.

Recalled models include:

  • 2010 to 2013 Kia Forte
  • 2011 to 2013 Kia Optima
  • 2011 and 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona
  • 2011 to 2013 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011 and 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2010 Chrysler Sebring
  • 2011 to 2014 Chrysler 200
  • 2010 to 2012 Dodge Caliber
  • 2010 to 2014 Dodge Avenger
  • 2010 to 2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass
  • 2012 and 2013 Lancia Flavia

Not sure if your car is one of 12.3 million? Check the NHTSA VIN Search Tool to see if this potential safety issue or any recalls have been noted for your vehicle.

Ask Our Car Defect Attorney

According to the Associated Press (AP), eight deaths have been tied to these potentially defective airbag control units. If you or a loved one has been impacted by a car defect, consider contacting our car defect attorneys at 305-476-7400. You can also fill out our online case review form for a free consultation.

At Colson Hicks Eidson, we have experience handling cases involving defective airbags. Our partner, Curtis Miner, was appointed Lead Counsel for the Personal Injury Track by the Federal Court overseeing the litigation involving defective Takata airbags, which involves the largest automotive recall in US history.  Our firm has been handling lawsuits against car manufacturers for decades and has helped hundreds of clients resolve claims based on defects in cars.

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“These rankings highlight the commitment and hard work of our attorneys, showcasing our firm’s capability to manage diverse cases for our clients,” said Dean Colson. “As the South Florida business landscape evolves, we remain committed to serving new clients while upholding the same standard of excellence that has defined our firm for 55 years.”

Stephanie Casey, Julie Braman Kane, Curtis Miner, Roberto Martínez, and Mike Eidson were all ranked individually for their work in the “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” category. Miner received the top ranking (Band 1) and Eidson was named “Senior Statesperson” in “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs.” Martínez was named “Senior Statesperson” in two categories: “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” and “White Collar Crime and Government Investigations.”

The rankings are a result of the firm’s exceptional track record of securing multimillion-dollar judgments and settlements for its clients in areas that include commercial litigation, medical malpractice, products liability, class actions, multidistrict litigation, and aviation and automobile accidents.

To schedule a consultation, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at our law office. We have experience in a wide variety of cases for clients located throughout the nation and around the globe.

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida, that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.

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On June 21, 2021, the electric scooter sold by Miami-based Defendant Hypertoyz exploded in the family’s foyer, quickly engulfing their home in fire. Everyone managed to escape amid the smoke and fire, but the family’s townhome was gutted in the blaze, destroying their possessions and forcing them to relocate.

A Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently awarded all four family members compensatory damages totaling $3 million.

Colson Hicks Eidson, P.A. and co-counsel BartlettChen LLC filed a complaint on behalf of a three-generation family who experienced a harrowing near-death incident on a United Airlines flight. The event occurred due to a miscommunication between the Captain and First Officer, resulting in the plane suddenly losing altitude and plunging toward the Pacific Ocean, coming within seconds of crashing and subjecting the passengers to extreme G-forces and terror.

The incident took place on Dec. 18, 2022 when three generations of the family boarded United Airlines Flight 1722 from Maui, Hawaii to San Francisco, California after a long-planned family vacation.

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“To some extent, encounters with bad weather or turbulence are unavoidable when you fly, but no passenger should ever have to endure such a terrifying experience due to pilot error while traveling on a routine commercial flight.” Curtis Miner, Counsel for Plaintiffs said. “Our clients’ entire, three-generation family was subjected to this terrifying, near-miss incident.  We are committed to seeking justice and fair compensation on their behalf.'” Austin Bartlett, Counsel for Plaintiffs, commented: “This nearly catastrophic flight was horrific and traumatic. The Maltz family and all airlines passengers deserve better.”

The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois where United Airlines is headquartered.

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a boutique litigation firm serving clients in local, national, and international matters. Our multilingual team of highly experienced attorneys is dedicated to providing our clients with top-tier legal representation backed by a commitment to hard work, creative thinking, responsiveness, and professionalism. From our offices in Miami, we have handled a broad range of significant legal matters around the world for over 50 years.

About BartlettChen LLC

Based in Chicago, BartlettChen LLC represents individuals in aviation, wrongful death, and immigration matters across the nation and internationally. Austin Bartlett of BartlettChen has practiced aviation law for more than two decades and brings the unique perspective of a former aviation defense attorney to help victims and their families secure full compensation for their losses.

Colson Hicks Eidson is pleased to announce that nine attorneys have been named in the 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers. Lawyers for this guide are selected through Lawdragon’s process of independent journalistic research and submissions.  Their selection process emphasizes lawyers who have demonstrated consistent excellence and have made notable impacts in their fields.

Click here to read the full guide.

The Firm’s recognized attorneys are listed below.

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a boutique litigation law firm based in Miami, Florida, serving clients in local, national, and international matters across multiple languages. Practice areas include complex civil and commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury, medical negligence, product liability, class action, mass tort, and white-collar criminal defense for the most serious and challenging of cases.  Since 1971, the firm and its lawyers have consistently worked to be respected by the state and federal judiciary – securing numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts, judgments, and settlements on behalf of clients. Learn more at www.colson.com.

MIAMI (November 2, 2023) – Colson Hicks Eidson announced today that it has been named in the 2024 list of The Best Law Firms in America. The Miami-based firm has once again received this honor at both the national and metropolitan level. This follows a recent announcement where seven of the firm’s attorneys were named as Best Lawyers in America” for 2024 across a range of fields.

“We strive every day to provide the best possible representation for our clients, and we are honored to continue to receive this recognition for our work,” said Dean C. Colson, Managing Partner of Colson Hicks Eidson.

Best Lawyers, a distinguished peer-review legal publication company, develops The Best Law Firms in America listings through individual lawyer and law firm surveys and firm recognition history. Colson Hicks Eidson is recognized in the following areas.

National Tier 2 (Represents national clients and smaller companies)

  1. Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs

Metropolitan Tier 1 (Scored within a certain percentage of highest-scoring firms in area)


  1. Bet-the-Company Litigation
  2. Commercial Litigation
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  4. Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
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Metropolitan Tier 2 (Scored within a certain percentage of the next highest-scoring firms in area)


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About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a boutique litigation law firm based in Miami, Florida, serving clients in local, national, and international matters across multiple languages. Practice areas include complex civil and commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury, medical negligence, product liability, class action, mass tort, and white-collar criminal defense for the most serious and challenging of cases.  Since 1971, the firm and its lawyers have consistently worked to be respected by the state and federal judiciary – securing numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts, judgments, and settlements on behalf of clients. Learn more at www.colson.com.

Colson Hicks Eidson (CHE) is proud to announce its recent involvement in a significant legal matter with statewide implications. Sabrina Saieh, an attorney at CHE, has filed an amicus brief in the First District Court of Appeal in the case of State of Florida, Agency of Health Care Administration v. Alfredo Ivan Murciano, M.D. in support of Dr. Murciano’s brief.

The amicus brief was filed on behalf of CHE senior partner Roberto Martinez, who served on the most recent Florida Constitution Review Commission and was the primary sponsor of an amendment to the Florida Constitution, now found in Article V, Section 21, titled “Judicial Interpretation of Statutes and Rules.” This amendment explicitly prevents courts and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from deferring to administrative agencies’ interpretations of state statutes or rules.

The brief urges the First District Court of Appeal to recognize that Article V, Section 21 was added to the Florida Constitution to prevent executive branch agencies, such as the Agency of Health Care Administration (ACHA), from imposing their legal interpretations on the courts and ALJs. The Florida Constitution prohibits ALJs and the courts from accepting mandates from ACHA to adopt their findings of fact or issue orders based on ACHA’s interpretations of statutes and rules that contradict those determined by the ALJs or courts during a de novo review.

This amicus brief underscores CHE’s dedication to defending the integrity of the Florida Constitution and ensuring that judicial interpretation of statutes and rules remains impartial and independent from administrative agencies.