Since 1968, modern airbags have been saving people lives when they were involved in automobile accidents. Nowadays, most people wouldn’t dream of purchasing a vehicle without them and more and more automobiles have airbags throughout their interiors to ensure everyone stays safe. That being said, airbags can also work against you. Far too often, people have found that the worse injuries caused by an automobile accident were actually caused by the airbags they relied on to keep them safe.
When Airbags Lead to Lawsuits
Just because an airbag left you injured doesn’t mean you have a lawsuit. No car company could possibly predict every situation that leads to or occurs during an accident. Airbags are designed to do their best in as many circumstances as possible. However, due to the nature of their deployment, an airbag could definitely cause an injury, despite working perfectly.
Airbag injury attorneys are necessary when the device didn’t work as it was supposed to. This is where a product liability claim makes sense. Just like with a microwave that can become too hot too fast, putting someone’s life at risk, an airbag that malfunctions is the responsibility of the manufacturer. If it ends up hurting someone, that company must be held responsible.
Common Forms of Airbag Malfunctions
Unfortunately, some of the worst injuries resulting from airbag malfunctions affect children. The sheer force of an airbag deployment can be more than their body is able to sustain.
However, countless adults have also suffered. Some of the most common forms of airbag malfunctions result from:
- Faulty Crash Sensors: when a crash sensor isn’t working correctly, it can deploy an air bag and inflate it although an accident never occurred. Likewise, a faulty sensor can also be responsible for deploying the air bag too late.
- Horizontal Inflation Path: air bags are meant to inflate upwards first and then outward. If an airbag doesn’t inflate properly, by extending horizontally, injuries are almost guaranteed.
- Overly Power Airbags: airbag inflators work one of two ways: they are either single- or multi-force, with the latter being more popular nowadays. Either way, if an airbag is inflated with too much power, someone can get hurt.
- Faulty Internal Tethers: by design, airbags inflate in the shape of a flat pillow, thanks to the internal tethers that strap them down. If these tethers are missing or not working, then the airbag will deploy round, like a basketball. That shape can be extremely harmful.
- Lack of Proper Testing: manufacturers are supposed to test their airbags with a number of different crash test dummies. However, they’re also supposed to test them on a range of dummies that represent potential drivers and passengers. If they don’t do this, certain body types will be at greater risk of injury when the airbag deploys.
When you consider that an airbag is usually deployed at over 100 mph an hour, it’s easier to appreciate how inherently dangerous they can be. While it’s important to remember that the majority of them function perfectly, the above design errors can have devastating results.
Also, most airbags are made to deploy during a head-on crash, even at speeds as low as eight mph. This is why these defects are taken so seriously. In the types of scenarios mentioned above, no airbag would be better than one that doesn’t work correctly at such slow speeds.
If you or a loved one has been left injured because of an airbag, speak with an attorney. Even if you’re unsure of whether or not the airbag worked properly, it’s worth having an experienced lawyer look into it for you. The damage these devices can cause means injured parties need to collect damages for, amongst other things, covering medical bills.