Jill Kolodner | September 20, 2020 | Product Liability
Automobile accidents can cause traumatic injuries and fatalities. There were 117,955 traffic crashes in Maryland during 2018. Thousands of people were injured in traffic accidents and 485 people died in 2018.
Vehicle manufacturers are required to include various safeguards on motor vehicles to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths in a car crash. Today, vehicle manufacturers must include seat belts and dual front airbags on all vehicles. The devices are designed to protect the occupants of a vehicle from injuries and death in a collision.
Airbags are highly effective at preventing serious injury and death in a car accident. From 1987 to 2017, frontal airbags have prevented 50,457 deaths in traffic accidents. However, what happens when airbags malfunction or are defective?
How Do Airbags Work in a Crash?
Airbags work best in combination with seatbelts. During a collision, the airbags inflate to prevent the person from slamming into the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. When a crash triggers a sensor, non-toxic gas inflates the airbag.
An airbag deploys in less than a second and with great force. They deploy in moderate to severe automobile accidents. When airbags work correctly, they can prevent deaths and traumatic injuries.
However, airbags can malfunction. They may not inflate correctly, or they may not inflate at all. In either case, the person could sustain life-threatening and catastrophic injuries.
Common Injuries Caused When an Airbag Fails to Deploy
Airbags that fail to deploy, explode, or deploy late could cause a variety of injuries for the driver and passengers. Some of the common airbag injuries caused by defective airbags include:
- Facial injuries, including blindness, broken facial bones, and scarring
- Concussions, skull fractures, and brain damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Chest injuries, including fractured ribs, lung damage, and other internal organ damage
- Back injuries, including spinal cord damage, herniated discs, and broken vertebrae
- Neck injuries, including whiplash and brain stem injuries
- Wrongful death
Airbags can be the cause of a specific injury. A defective airbag may inflate with too much force or explode, which could cause traumatic injuries in addition to the injuries caused by the car accident.
Why Do Airbags Fail to Inflate?
Airbags are mechanical devices that rely on sensitive sensors, electrical currents, and other systems to work correctly. If any component of the airbag is defective or malfunctions, the airbag may not deploy as intended.
Common airbag malfunctions and defects that can lead to a failure to deploy include, but are not limited to, defective sensors, modules, or electrical components. An airbag may not deploy because the wiring between the airbag and the sensors is defective or severed.
In some cases, the crash may not have been severe enough to trigger the airbags. The location of the impact with another vehicle or object can also impact whether or not airbags deploy. In other cases, an airbag may deploy late, which could cause additional injuries for the driver or passenger.
It is imperative to determine why the airbag failed to deploy. If a defect in any component of the airbag caused the failure to deploy, victims might have a product liability claim against the airbag manufacturer, car manufacturer, and other parties.
What Should I Do if My Airbag Did Not Inflate Correctly?
If the airbag in your vehicle did not deploy or did not deploy correctly, contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options. In addition to a lawsuit against the driver who caused the automobile crash, you may also have a product liability claim.
Car and airbag manufacturers might be liable if a defective airbag causes an injury. Product liability laws allow consumers to recover compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and other damages caused by defective products. However, you must prove the legal elements of a product liability claim to recover compensation.
Proving liability for a defective airbag requires that you prove how the airbag was defective and how the defect caused your injury. Because airbags are complicated devices and many factors could lead to your injuries in a car accident, a product liability attorney will hire experts to investigate and analyze the evidence to prove liability when an airbag causes an injury.
Because airbag injury claims can be complicated and challenging to win, it is usually best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If possible, speak with a lawyer before you have your vehicle repaired. An attorney can direct you on the best way to preserve evidence, including having the repairs made by a specific mechanic who has experience gathering evidence related to airbag injuries.
Also, make sure that you see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to document your injuries. Medical records are vital in these types of personal injury claims because medical records can help determine whether the injury occurred because of the airbag or the car crash. Prompt medical attention and seeking trusted legal advice are two essential steps victims need to take after an airbag injury.