Since 1968, modern airbags have been saving the lives of people involved in automobile accidents. Nowadays, most people wouldn’t dream of purchasing a vehicle without them. 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 in an automobile accident were actually caused by the airbags they relied upon 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 scenario that can occur in 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 becomes too hot, too fast, putting someone’s safety 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 involve children. The sheer force of an airbag when it deploys can be more than their bodies are able to sustain. However, countless adults have also suffered injury due to an airbag that has malfunctioned. Some of the most common forms of a malfunctioning airbag result from:
Faulty Crash Sensors. When a crash sensor isn’t working correctly, it can deploy an inflated airbag even when an accident has not occurred. Likewise, a faulty crash sensor can also be responsible for delayed deployment of an airbag.
Horizontal Inflation Path. Airbags are meant to inflate upward first and then outward. If an airbag doesn’t inflate properly, injuries are almost guaranteed.
Overly Powered Airbags. Airbag inflators work one of two ways, either by single-force or multi-force. Either way, if an airbag is inflated using too much power, someone can get hurt.
Faulty Internal Tethers. The internal tethers strap the airbags down. They are designed to force the airbags to inflate in the shape of a flat pillow when deployed. If these internal tethers malfunction or are missing completely, the airbag will inflate and deploy in the shape of a basketball. The difference in these shapes could mean the difference in causing unnecessary and/or additional harm as a result of an accident.
Lack of Proper Testing. Manufacturers are required to test airbags on a variety of crash test dummies. This is to simulate the effects airbag deployment during an accident may have on people of different shapes and sizes. If the manufacturer does not meet this requirement, some people may be at a greater risk of injury when an airbag deploys.
When you consider that an airbag is usually deployed at over 100 mph on average, it’s easier to appreciate how inherently dangerous they can be. While it’s important to remember that the majority of airbags function perfectly, design errors, like the ones mentioned above, can have devastating results.
Most airbags are designed to deploy during a head-on collision, even at speeds as low as 8 mph. For this reason, defects are taken very seriously. If an airbag has a defect, like the ones listed above, no airbag would be better than one that doesn’t work correctly at such low speeds.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of an airbag, speak with an attorney. If you’re unsure whether or not the airbag worked properly, it’s worth having an experienced lawyer look into it for you. The injuries these devices can cause may present the need for a claim to be filed in order to collect for damages such as medical bills, for example.