Airbag Safety Defect Attorneys
Injured Because Your Airbag Failed or Deployed with Excessive Force? Our Attorneys File Claims Nationwide.
Airbags provide significant additional protection to drivers and passengers by limiting crash forces and protecting occupants from contact with the hard surfaces of the vehicle.
However, because airbags must deploy at a high rate of speed to be effective, they can also present a safety risk to automobile occupants by deploying with excessive force, not deploying at all, or deploying when the vehicle isn't involved in a crash.
If you believe your accident was caused by a defective airbag, feel free to contact our airbag defect attorneys at (888) 711-5947 today for a free case evaluation. We handle cases nationwide!
The Dangers of Defective Airbags
While airbag technologies have saved thousands of lives, they present a risk of death or injury to vehicle drivers and passengers when defective.
Identifying the Types of Airbags in Your Vehicle
The most common types of airbags today are frontal and side airbags:
- Frontal: Frontal airbags are installed inside the steering wheel on the driver’s side and in the instrument console on the passenger side. This was the first type of airbag technology and began appearing in vehicles in the early-to-mid 1990s.
- Side: Different manufacturers place side airbags in different locations. Most side airbags and side-curtain airbags are positioned to protect the occupant’s head and upper body. Side airbags are commonly mounted in the seat, support column, or door frame. It is important to verify that your vehicle has head and torso side airbags and that the vehicle is equipped with rollover pre-tensioners that trigger side airbags to deploy in a rollover accident.
The best way to identify the types of airbags installed in your vehicle or a vehicle you are considering for purchase is to examine the owner’s manual and inspect the auto’s interior. If you have additional questions about the airbags and the protection they are intended to provide, contact the vehicle manufacturer. You might also consider reading a vehicle’s safety reviews in publications such as Car and Driver and Consumer Reports.
Dangerous Airbag Defects
Airbags that are intended to improve driver and passenger safety can cause injuries when there are errors in their deployment. Here are some of the most common airbag defects:
- Failure to deploy such as seen in a 2010 study that found front airbags failed to deploy in 1-2% of frontal crashes.
- Unexpected deployment due to short circuits in the airbag control module caused by fluid leaks or other malfunctions.
- Airbag debris that strikes and injures occupants upon deployment.
- Cuts or tears in the airbag that prevent the airbag from properly deploying.
- Airbags that deploy with excessive force beyond manufacturer or design specifications, causing unnecessary injuries to passengers. This flaw was behind mass recalls for Takata airbags.
- Airbags that are not the necessary size to protect vehicle occupants from crash forces.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car crash because of a defective airbag, such as the defects listed above, contact our airbag defect lawyers today to get started on your case!
Too often, these defects cause serious injuries to vehicle occupants. We have helped clients with:
- Eye injuries from dust and/or debris that shot out at the driver or passenger upon airbag deployment.
- Facial or neck injuries caused by an excessively forceful deployment or an airbag’s failure to properly employ.
- Injuries to the abdominal or chest region and/or upper extremities from the excessive force of a side airbag deployment.
- Serious head and neck injuries due to a side airbag’s failure to deploy. In these situations, an occupant might strike the side frame of the vehicle or be ejected from the vehicle in the event of a rollover.
The serious injuries that are caused by defective airbags can put your life on hold for months and even years. Fight to hold negligent auto manufacturers and designers accountable with help from our airbag defect attorneys. We handle cases nationwide!
Safe Airbags Save Lives
Since airbags became a standard for vehicle safety in the mid-1990s, they have proven to be effective at improving the safety of vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted multiple studies verifying these devices’ effectiveness:
- A 2007 study based on field investigations of crash data concluded that airbags saved more than 243,000 lives through mid-2007. According to NHTSA’s analysis, the combined use of seatbelts and airbags reduces the risk of serious head injuries for occupants involved in collisions by 83 percent.
- A 2009 NHTSA study concluded that 82 percent of the people whose lives were saved by airbags were drivers, and 18 percent were front-seat passengers. Forty percent were belted in and 60 percent were unbelted at the time of the crash.
- NHTSA has also found that side airbags with head protection reduce the mortality rate for drivers in driver-side crashes by 37 percent. For SUV drivers, the decrease in risk is 52 percent. Side airbags designed to protect only the torso reduce fatality risk by 26 percent for car drivers and by 30 percent for SUV drivers.
Despite these conclusive studies, there remains a misconception among some that airbags are not needed if a driver and passenger(s) wear seatbelts. This is not correct. Airbags and lap-shoulder belts work together as a restraint system. Restrained drivers and passengers who travel in a vehicle equipped with airbags are far more likely to survive a crash than belted individuals who travel in a car without airbags.
In late 2012, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) announced an investigation into widespread counterfeiting of replacement airbags which were sold online to unwitting consumers and auto repair and service stores. In a test crash conducted by Honda, one of these counterfeit airbags exploded, sending fire and debris from the steering wheel toward the vehicle occupants. The government announced that approximately 250,000 vehicles may have been affected.
If you had your vehicle’s airbag replaced by a non-dealer repair shop or replaced the airbag yourself via an online purchase, please visit your local authorized car dealer to have your airbag inspected and certified.
The Future of Airbag Technologies
According to the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, future airbags will likely possess a number of innovations to improve safety and further limit injuries to occupants from airbag deployments. Some of the recent innovations in airbag technology include:
- Technology to detect rear-facing child seats and automatically switch off passenger airbags
- Deployment programmed into phases based on crash severity, meaning less-severe crashes will result in a softer airbag deployment to reduce the likelihood of occupant injuries
- Sensors to detect the positioning of an occupant and adjust bag deployment to protect them based on their position in the seat
- An inflatable safety belt designed to reduce rear-seat injuries by dispersing collision forces across the occupant’s body
- Rear window curtain airbags to protect occupants’ from breaking glass and inward movement of the vehicle structure.
Airbag Safety Tips for Drivers
For adult vehicle occupants, it isn’t your size, age, or gender that determines your risk for airbag injuries. Your position in relation to an airbag is most important in identifying adult airbag injury risk factors. Most adults can greatly limit the risk by buckling up. Short and elderly drivers are less vulnerable to airbag injuries if they use seat belts and sit at least 10 inches from the steering wheel. NHTSA studies show that most airbag deaths occur when people are not belted in or the occupant is positioned too close to an airbag.
The following are a series of NHTSA safety tips to maximize the benefit of airbag and seatbelt safety restraint systems:
- Drivers should always position themselves to be as far away from the steering wheel as possible, but never less than 10 inches;
- Always wear seatbelts positioned low and snug across the hips and the shoulder belt across the chest;
- Always have your airbags inspected, even after a minor accident, to ensure they are in safe and working condition;
- Always have your airbags replaced after they are deployed in a collision; and
- Have children sit in the back seat until they are at least 12 years of age and use a size- and age-appropriate car seat and/or restraint system.
Should I Ever Turn Off My Car’s Airbag?
NHTSA recommends that you not turn off the airbag except under very limited circumstances. People who may benefit from turning off an airbag are:
- Drivers who are unable to adjust their position to be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel;
- Individuals with a medical condition that would place them at substantial risk in an accident; and
- Parents of children under 12 who are required to ride in the front seat.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured by an Airbag?
If you or a loved one was injured by an airbag in a crash or non-crash incident, make sure to immediately seek medical attention. Then, make sure that the vehicle is preserved. Communicate in writing with your insurer or any other business or organization regarding the location and security of the vehicle and obtain written verification that the vehicle will not be modified, destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of as it may constitute evidence in a legal matter. If the vehicle is destroyed, your legal options may be severely limited due to the inability to fully investigate the nature of the product defect.
Contact an airbag defect attorney at The Gilbert Law Group® for a free consultation to discuss your defective airbag case. Call us at (888) 711-5947. We serve clients nationwide.
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When you are facing complex legal issues and high-profile defendants, you need a lawyer who knows how to fight these battles. Our team has taken on some of our nation’s biggest corporations and, with the help of our network of professional consultants and our skilled in-house engineering team, can help jurors make sense of highly technical evidence.
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Heavy Truck Fire Case $29,500,000
Bad Faith Insurance - Head On Auto Collision $17.8 Million
Record Jury Verdict - Seat Belt Failure $17,500,000
Auto Accident $9,500,000
Fatal Car Accident $9,000,000
Wrongful Death $8,400,000
Call Us for Representation in an Airbag Defect Case
The Gilbert Law Group® has years of experience in successfully litigating airbag defect cases on behalf of victims who sustained serious injuries. Our in-house engineering department is unsurpassed in technical know-how and innovative investigative techniques that enable us to carefully and efficiently identify product defects and assess your legal options early on in a case.
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