Improper airbag deployment occurs when something goes wrong, and the airbag malfunctions or fails to deploy. Although the concept of an airbag may seem simple, it is actually a complicated safety feature that depends on several parts functioning perfectly. The improper airbag deployment could be due to several factors, including a failure of the computer system that directs deployment, sensors that detect conditions that necessitate airbag deployment, or a defect in the airbag. Improper airbag deployment can be extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injuries or death.
Reasons for Improper Airbag Deployment
Premature Deployment: Airbags can deploy prematurely and enter the occupant’s space before they should. This can result in serious injuries including head or brain injuries.
Internal Tether Failure: These tethers help the airbag inflate correctly to protect the body in the event of a crash. If they fail, the airbag could inflate improperly or too far into the occupant’s space. This could lead to serious injuries to the face, head, or chest.
Oversized Airbags: Some vehicles may have airbags that are too large. These oversized airbags inflate beyond where they should. This can result in serious facial, head, or chest injuries.
Low Deployment: Defective airbags can deploy in low speed or minor accidents. This is a dangerous situation, and occupants could sustain serious injuries.
Failure to Deploy: Airbags can fail to deploy. When this happens, occupants are subject to the crash without any protection. Serious injury or death can occur when airbags fail to deploy.
Late Deployment: Airbags can deploy too late after impact and fail to protect the occupants during a crash.
Computer Malfunctions: A computer system defect or malfunction can trigger deployment when a driver starts the car or encounters a bump or pothole. Complete deployment failure is possible as well. These malfunctions may lead to serious injuries and death.
Failure to Perform Crash Tests: Car manufactures may fail to conduct comprehensive crash tests before releasing vehicles to sell. When the manufacturer does not properly test the airbags, this puts unsuspecting drivers and passengers at risk.
Recalled Takata Airbags: Takata used ammonium nitrate in their recalled airbag inflators. This chemical is volatile and can cause the airbags to explode as they inflate. Flying metal shrapnel can kill or seriously injure occupants. The Takata airbag recall affects over 37 million vehicles.
Improper Airbag Deployment Injuries
Airbags can be a lifesaver, but if they deploy improperly or not at all, they can be very dangerous. Airbags deploy at 200 miles per hour. If an airbag is defective, it can deploy even faster. When an airbag makes forceful contact with the human body, many types of injuries can occur.
Facial Injuries: The airbag is supposed to protect your face if a crash should occur. It may protect you from flying or broken glass, but the impact of an airbag can seriously injure your face or eyes. This strong impact can cause facial lacerations, broken bones, or even blindness.
Chest Injuries: During a serious crash, the airbag must inflate quickly and with great force. As the bag deploys, your chest is exposed. The force of the airbag can damage soft tissue or break bones in the chest area.
Neck and Back Injuries: Although airbags save lives, they can cause serious neck and back injuries. These types of injuries can affect you for life and may require extensive therapy or medical care.
Internal Injuries: The fierce impact of improper airbag deployment can cause internal injuries or bleeding. Toxic chemicals that airbags release during deployment can cause irritation or breathing problems.
Burn Injuries: Airbags deploying at high speed can cause burns, especially to the face and arms. Mild to severe chemical burns are possible.
Holding Manufacturers Accountable
An airbag is supposed to prevent catastrophic injuries during a crash, and in most situations, it does. But when an airbag is defective, it may deploy improperly or fail to deploy at all and become dangerous, causing serious injury or death. In this situation, the manufacturer of the vehicle, airbags, or both, may be liable for injuries, medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If injured because of improper airbag deployment, you may need a defective airbag lawyer to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. The experienced product liability attorneys at Newsome Melton can answer your questions and evaluate your case. Call us today at 888-808-5977 for a free consultation.