Volkswagen Atlas Seat Attachment Failure Lawsuit
A defect in certain Volkswagen Atlas vehicles may allow second row seat to lurch forward, placing front row and second-seat passengers at risk of serious injury. The seat latch issue may be even more dangerous for children and numerous complaints have already been received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Volkswagen has been accused of fraud and negligence as they may have known about the issues but failed to act in a timely manner. If you own a 2018-2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV or were injured by seat failure in one of these vehicles, you may be eligible for compensation through a VW Atlas SUV Seat Latch Lawsuit.
Latching Device Defective in VW Atlas SUVs
Reports show that second-row seats in some Volkswagen Atlas SUVs may fail to latch in place. During deceleration, this latch failure may allow the seats to lurch forward and slam into front row seats, resulting in potential injuries. Complaints directed to NHTSA have mainly included Volkswagen Atlas captain seats in 2018-year model but may also affect bench seats and seats in 2019 – 2021 models.
Crashes involving seat structure failure can be harmful, particularly in young children and infants. Second-row seat failure may pose a safety threat to second-row passengers, front-row passengers, and the driver. Multiple injury reports involving children and infants injured in VW Atlas vehicles have already been received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Volkswagen Atlas Vehicles Marketed as Safe
The Volkswagen Atlas is the largest VW vehicle model manufactured in the U.S. It is a sport utility vehicle with 3 seat rows, to provide seating for up to 8 occupants. It is intended to compete with other mid-size SUVs such as Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer.
The second-row seating is designed to fold down for easy access to third-row seats or storage compartment and has three sets of LATCH connectors for securing car seats. The presence of these low anchor tether connectors indicates that children should be safely secured in the second row.
A large part of the marketing for the VW Atlas was its pitch as a “Safe, Family-ready vehicle” which was a “Family hauler” suitable for children with a bold design for “mom and dad” not “mom and pop”. Consumers likely paid a premium because of this marketing and reputation as a safe vehicle for families, using the VW reputation of safety and value.
Though the vehicle was billed as “safe” for families, the seat latch device which is intended to lock second-row seats in place, may fail to properly secure second-row seats. This may allow the second-row seats to lurch forward and slam into first-row seats during deceleration or accident. This may pose a risk to both first-row driver and passengers and to second-row passengers, particularly if they are children.
Several reports of injury have already been received at the NHTSA involving children and infants who were passengers in a VW Atlas.
Volkswagen Failed to Correct Known Defect
The first reports of seat latch failures were made in 2018 and Internal documents show that Volkswagen knew about the potential failure of the latching devices and failed to correct the defect or recall the vehicles in a timely manner. Despite denials, Volkswagen has issued at least one Technical Service Bulletin describing the defect to VW dealerships but did not correct the issue.
Seat latch safety or maintenance is not addressed in owner’s manuals as the latches should last for the lifetime of the vehicle. Despite reports of failure and related injury, Volkswagen has not recalled the vehicles and has continued to sell them as safe, family-ready vehicles and “designated family-hauler”. VW has also refused to replace the latches under warranty, claiming that the warranty only covers manufacturing defects, not design defects
Other Problems with VW Atlas
This is not the only issue that has been raised over the safety of the VW Atlas. The 2018 Atlas model has been subject to numerous recalls including a manufacturing defect which may allow fuel tanks to leak. The second-row seats have also been subject to additional concerns including a failure to delineate restrictions for child restraint size and seat belts.
Previous concerns of the VW Atlas and subsequent recalls have not addressed the issues named in the new VW Atlas Seat Latch Lawsuits which accuse the company of fraud, misrepresentation, and failures to address a serious safety issue.
If you own a 2018-2021 VW Atlas SUV or were injured by seat latch failure in one of these vehicles, you should seek legal advice.