While airbags save many lives each year, when they work incorrectly, they can cause serious injuries. Below, our team details what you should know about defective airbags.
A Defective Airbag Can Deploy with Too Much Force
An airbag must deploy with enough force to cushion the impact of an accident. When a car is involved in a crash, chemicals inside a metal inflator ignite and create a gas that causes the airbag to inflate. If an airbag is defective, the chemicals can burn too fast, causing the airbag to deploy with too much force.
This is what occurs with the defective airbags involved in the Takata recall. When the Takata airbags deploy, the chemicals inside the metal inflator can too burn too quickly, causing the inflator to shatter, sending heated shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle.
A Defective Airbag Can Deploy When It Should Not Have
Airbags save lives when they deploy the instant a crash occurs. But they can cost lives, or at least cause serious injury, when they spontaneously deploy at inappropriate times, such as when a vehicle is cruising down a highway at a high rate of speed. Improper deployment of airbag can occur if a driver hits a pothole or for no reason at all.
When an airbag deploys at the wrong time, it disorients the driver and can obstruct their field of view. In many cases, the sudden impact can cause a driver to swerve into other lanes of traffic or lose control of the vehicle entirely. If this happens at 55 or 65 miles per hour, the results can be deadly.
In some cases, the airbag will deploy during a very minor accident (such as a fender bender or low speed collision), causing severe or fatal injuries when an accident victim should have been able to walk away.
The Airbag Does Not Deploy When It Should
An equally dangerous situation involves an airbag not deploying when it should, such as during a moderate to severe collision.
Airbags rely on motion sensors to detect an impact and deploy at that moment. If those sensors are damaged, no signal gets sent to the airbag, and the airbag does not deploy. When this occurs in a serious accident, the driver and passenger can suffer much more severe injuries than they would have if the airbag had deployed. The driver or passenger could be thrown into the dashboard or steering wheel or at the windows or windshield.
Defective Airbags Can Cause Serious Injuries
The serious injuries that result can vary due to the defect but can include:
- Broken bones (e.g., arm bones, facial bones, collarbone, etc.)
- Burn injuries
- Soft tissue injuries in the chest, neck, or back
- Organ damage
- Seatbelt injuries
What to Do After a Defective Airbag Causes Injury
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to a defective airbag, you should do three things to make sure you can recover damages and hold the manufacturer responsible.
Preserve Your Vehicle
Do not get your vehicle repaired, and in the case of a total loss, do not let the insurance company take it over and sell it for parts. Preserve the car in its current shape, preferably in a secure location. If your car was towed away, we can buy the vehicle back from the insurer to ensure we have the evidence we need.
Should you file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, your vehicle will serve as compelling physical evidence.
Understand That the Clock Is Ticking
Every state has a statute of limitations for product liability claims. As soon as an injury occurs due to a defective airbag, the clock starts ticking. Some states have product liability statutes of limitation that are only a year long. This means you may have only a year from the date of your injury to recover the compensation you need.
Discuss Your Case with a Product Liability Attorney
An attorney can help you determine whether you have a valid case and ensure your evidence is safe. If you get us involved directly after your injury, we are often able to get the defective airbag and place it in our warehouse within a few days. This helps prevent spoliation of the evidence and can help protect your case.
Call 888-808-5977 for a Free Attorney Consultation
The defective airbags attorneys at Newsome Melton want to help you win your case. We offer a free consultation to review your case and answer any questions you may have. To set up an appointment with our product liability attorneys today, call our office at 888-808-5977.