Injuries Caused by Defective Airbags
For the last thirty years, vehicle manufacturers have been required to pass certain safety tests before their cars can go on the market. As part of these tests, manufacturers must install dual front airbags that comply with federal standards in all of their vehicles. Although these requirements were put in place to help prevent defective products from being sold to consumers, some manufacturers still slip through the cracks by failing to conduct safety tests, use proper materials during production, or carefully assemble the airbag itself. Fortunately, these entities can and should be held responsible for their failure to use reasonable care, so if you were injured when your airbag either failed to deploy, or deployed incorrectly, you should strongly consider retaining a car accident attorney who can help you file a claim against the at-fault party.
Although most people are not aware of it, airbag systems are actually quite complex and require the careful configuration of a series of sensors, control units, and inflators, all of which work together to fill airbags within 1/20th of a second if rapid decoration is detected. Unfortunately, this also means that any problem with a single part of the system could cause the airbag itself to fail to deploy, which could prove deadly for a vehicle’s occupants. Although there are hundreds of ways that an airbag can be defective, the most common problems include:
- Faulty wiring;
- Inadequate venting;
- Design defects;
- Defective impact sensors;
- Overpowered inflators;
- Faulty electronics;
- Software issues; and
- Improper installation.
Whether an airbag failed to deploy correctly because of a problem with the system’s overall design or because a manufacturer failed to use proper materials during assembly, over-inflation, under-inflation, or a failure to inflate at all, could be the result. This puts passengers at an increased risk of certain injuries, such as facial fractures, hearing loss, head trauma, and broken ribs, all of which are not only painful, but can also be difficult and expensive to treat.
Vehicle manufacturers are required to install certified-advanced airbags in their vehicles during production. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers comply with these rules, for which they can be held liable, especially if there is evidence that they disregarded or falsified test results, knowingly used inferior materials during construction, or failed to conduct necessary safety tests.
In some cases, it is not the manufacturer of the vehicle who is at fault, but a third party company that designed or produced the airbag. For instance, in 2015, vehicles produced and sold by 19 different manufacturers were recalled because the airbags (supplied by Takata) with which they were equipped were defective. Since the initial recall, investigators have discovered that the main flaw in the airbag’s design was a failure to use a chemical drying agent with the propellant, which caused the airbags to inflate with explosive force when exposed to high temperatures. An estimated 180 people sustained serious injuries as a result of the defect, while eleven victims tragically lost their lives.
Call Our Legal Team Today
If you were injured when your airbag improperly deployed, you may be eligible for compensation. Please contact one of the experienced car accident attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC at 419-241-5500 to learn more.