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$14M Air Bag Defect Lawsuit Awarded to Teen Who Sustained Traumatic Brain Injury

A jury has awarded the family of Zachary Duncan $14 million in their air bag injury lawsuit against Hyundai. Duncan was just 16 when he sustained a traumatic brain injury in a 2010 car crash.

According to the plaintiffs, the airbag didn’t activate when Duncan’s 2008 Tiburon went off a road and hit a tree. They believe the air bag sensors were not properly placed in the car and therefore could not accurately determine when a side air bag should deploy.

The sensors were under the driver’s seat. The auto product liability lawsuit alleges that Hyundai knew there were risks to placing the sensors there.

Meantime, Hyundai contended that the vehicle’s air-bag system fulfilled federal safety requirements and that even if the side air bag had deployed this would not have protected Duncan from his injuries. The automaker no longer makes the Tiburon. The plaintiffs’ legal team said that vehicle’s models for 2003 to 2008 had all been linked to air-bag sensor design problems.

Air Bag
Air bag problems can prove fatal if this safety device does not go deploy during a high-impact car crash or inflates when it shouldn’t. Faulty air bag deployment can also lead to serious impact injuries to the body, while potentially upping the chance of a car accident happening if one has not already occurred.

Other common causes of air bag accidents:
• Faulty crash sensors
• Inflators that are too powerful
• Inadequate internal tethers which can allow an air bag to deflate in the wrong shape
• Dangerous inflation path: safer airbags usually inflate upward before stretching outward; airbags that extend horizontally can cause serious injuries.
• Inadequate crash testing
• Exploding air bags that can emit debris, potentially causing bodily injuries, facial injuries, injuries to the eye, cuts, and lacerations

Airbag Injuries
Other airbag injuries may include neck injuries, abdominal injuries, chest injuries, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Victims may have reason to pursue an air bag defect lawsuit against an automaker, the air bag manufacturer, and others.

Air Bag Recalls
In other recent air bag news, Suzuki is recalling 193,936 SUVs and autos over a faulty air bag sense in the front passenger seat. The automaker says the sensor mats, which are supposed to gauge the weight of passengers and decide if an air bag should go off/not might stop working after numerous uses. This could cause the air bag to deploy even if there is a small person in the seat. Auto dealers are to replace the sensor mats free of charge.

The air bag recall news comes less than six months after Honda, Toyota, Nissan and three other automakers issued their recalls. Close to 3.4 million autos were involved over concerns that the air bag defect might cause shrapnel to emit in the passenger compartment. Takata Corp. manufactured all of the air bags.

The defect involved flawed inflator mechanisms that fail to send gas into the air bag. Instead, plastic and metal parts could end up being emitted from the safety device into the passenger areas.

Toyota recalled 1.7 million autos, Honda recalled 1.1 million vehicles, and Nissan recalled 480,000 autos. The other three automakers were Nissan, Mazda, and General Motors. You can read a blog postwe published earlier this year about the mass recalls.

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