It is no surprise that airbags save thousands of lives annually. When used together with a seat belt, the risk of catastrophic injury and death from a car crash is reduced dramatically. Airbags are mandatory safety features in most vehicles, and newer technology has made airbags even more effective. Airbags can prevent drivers and passengers from striking the steering column, dashboard, or windshield, and work to spread the force of an impact across the body in the event of a car crash. Side airbags can prevent head and neck trauma, fractures, and injuries to internal organs also. Sometimes, however, manufacturing and design defects and airbag failures cause serious injury and wrongful death, instead of protecting vehicle passengers.
Every year, car makers issue warnings and recalls because of air bag defects and component failures. GM, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and other car manufacturers have recently discovered airbag defects and have recalled thousands of vehicles. Unfortunately many vehicle recalls come too late, after innocent and unknowing victims have lost their lives, or been seriously injured. Common injuries caused by airbag defects include severe head trauma, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, blindness, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, broken bones, amputation, and death.
Defective Airbag Systems and Accidents
Automatic airbag systems are complex and may fail to function properly, causing serious injury to you or a loved one. Defective airbags and defective airbag sensors can result in an airbag failing to deploy, deploying too early, deploying too late, deploying over-aggressively, or deploying inadvertently when there was no crash. In each of these cases, a driver or passenger would not get the proper protection of the airbag, and could end up severely injured.
Defective Airbags and Injuries From Airbags Can Be Caused By:
- Electrical and wiring issues
- Inadequate deployment threshold
- Too few or poor sensor placement
- Failing to reinstall airbags in a vehicle that had previously deployed airbags, software failure
- Failing to use tethers to make sure airbags do not reach too far and slam drivers in the face
- Airbag fabric tearing
- Airbag fabric catching on surrounding equipment & not deploying fully
- Inadequate consumer warnings, or failure to warn of known dangers
- Venting & folding defects (mistakes in the number, location, and size of gas vents and patterns used to fold airbags)
Many of these defects are present in airbags and in many of today’s automobiles and tricks because of cost-cutting measures taken by car makers, negligent installation, and inadequate testing of real-world crash scenarios. Our skilled and experienced Pennsylvania airbag defect lawyers believe that safety should never be an option, and always takes priority over shareholders’ bottom line and the manufacturer’s profitability.
Injuries or fatalities can also occur when airbags deploy inadvertently, or when they are not supposed to open. Airbags come out of their modules at over 200 mph. A driver can become startled or shocked if an airbag deploys randomly, which could cause a collision or crash. If a crash occurs after an airbag has already been deployed, the driver and passengers are left with no protection from hitting interior components of the vehicle. If a driver is seated too close to the steering wheel, or is not properly restrained by a seat belt, serious, life-altering injuries, burns, and death have occurred.
Rely on an Experienced and Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyer
Catastrophic injuries caused by airbag defects can have a profound effect on you or your loved one’s life. Head and brain injuries and paralysis require life-long care and can cost millions of dollars over a lifetime. Our dedicated Philadelphia auto product liability lawyers at Reiff & Bily understand this complex area of the law, and have successfully represented numerous clients in airbag defect litigation. Since 1979, we have set the benchmark for auto product liability cases and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for victims of product defects and their families. We have decades of experience fighting against some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers, and have set the bar in product liability litigation. If you or a loved one was catastrophically injured or wrongfully killed from an airbag defect or failure, our team of lawyers, engineers, and tire defect experts will investigate what caused your auto crash, and determine who should be held responsible. Consumer protection is our priority, and we will fight to put you on the road to recovery.