An airbag is a safety device activated by crash sensors to inflate instantly and cushion a driver and passengers in a collision. But some airbags fail to function properly and cause injuries, and they could be the target of defective-airbag lawsuits.
The History of the Airbag
American automakers started putting them in vehicles in the 1970s, and soon, airbag defects became apparent. In fact, before long, a bad airbag caused the death of at least one person. In the 1980s, airbags became routine in vehicles. In fact, the U.S. government mandated that every vehicle manufactured beyond April 1, 1989, have either automatic seat belts (a device now abandoned) or driver’s-side airbags. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) ruled that every vehicle must have dual front airbags in 1998. Since that time, federal statistics show that airbags have saved the lives of thousands in traffic accidents.
Where Airbags Are Placed
An airbag can be placed in many different parts of a vehicle. These include rear knee airbags; curtain shield airbags; center airbags; side curtain airbags; head side-impact airbags to shield the head in a side impact; and seat-mounted curtain airbags to protect passengers in front and rear seats.
Any airbag should lend additional safety to a passenger or driver in a traffic crash by reducing the danger of their body striking the vehicle’s interior. Sensors in vehicles cause airbags to be deployed when the vehicle decelerates suddenly.
What Happens When an Airbag Is Faulty?
But for all the good they can do, airbags can and do fail to perform properly. They can fail to activate fully when there’s a crash, or they may deploy or activate by mistake when there isn’t one. When an airbag doesn’t deploy in a traffic accident, those in the vehicle may be seriously injured or even killed. Indeed, the NHTSA found that from 1990 to 2007, the deaths of 284 Americans, including 180 children, were due to defective airbags. Thousands of non-fatal airbag injuries also occurred.
Young children can be particularly vulnerable to faulty airbags or even may be hurt when an airbag deploys properly. A child sitting in a vehicle’s front seat is more likely to be injured by a deploying airbag, especially when the seat is pushed too far forward.
One problem with flawed airbags is that their defects may be difficult to discern until an accident occurs. A car owner might have no inkling that their car’s airbags are faulty until it’s too late.
The result can be serious injuries or even death. Indeed, the device can be among the most serious dangers in a vehicle, as indicated by the increasing number of injuries and deaths due to flawed airbags. Such injuries can include damage to the skull and brain, which can lead to paralysis or death. Airbag injuries may result in broken arms, broken legs, or other broken bones, in addition to decapitation, asthma attacks, blindness, hearing loss, and airbag burns. The latter injury can happen due to the chemicals that inflate airbags or the gases vented when the airbag inflates. Also, an airbag burn injury can be due to abrasions suffered as an occupant hits the airbag’s fabric suddenly.
An airbag recall is a routine occurrence, with many airbags recalled for a variety of reasons over the years. But in recent years, there’s been a recall affecting more than 30 million vehicles in the United States: the Takata airbag recall. Almost every major manufacturer has been impacted, including Ford, BMW, GM, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. In these cases, the airbag has been known to explode. Though there have been many other recalls of the ever-changing and difficult-to-manufacture airbag, lawsuits regarding the Takata recall have impacted more vehicles, and therefore drivers, than any other recall in recent memory.
Considering a Defective-Airbag Lawsuit
Consumers don’t have to suffer silently after being injured by a defective airbag. Attorney Jim Adler and his huge team of professional legal experts can help. If you or a loved one have been hurt by this device, which is meant to keep you safe, it might be time to consider filing a faulty-airbag lawsuit to claim financial help for injury expenses that may have resulted from the failure.
Punitive damages also can be sought in an airbag lawsuit. Punitive damages come in addition to a lawsuit’s compensatory damages and are intended to punish defendants for extreme negligence. Such damages can be quite high and thus also may serve as an incentive to avoid future accidents.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
If your family needs to file a lawsuit, know this: Our law firm can provide you with a defective-products attorney, product liability lawyer, or personal injury lawyer for your case. Jim Adler & Associates has been assisting people hurt in traffic collisions due to negligence for nearly four decades. Now, Adler is known as The Tough, Smart Lawyer® in Texas and beyond. We fight for victims’ rights to payments for their injury losses.
Our law firm can deal with insurance companies that attempt to delay, underpay, or deny paying on an insurance policy. We can also target manufacturers or automakers whose negligence led to the creation of a defective airbag. Attorney Jim Adler will fight big corporations to help you get the medical expenses you need so that you and your family can move on. Please contact us today by filling out our case review form for a free legal consultation, and then you can decide if you want to proceed with an airbag lawsuit.