Front driver and passenger airbags have been standard safety equipment in cars since 1998 and SUVs since 1999. If you drive a newer vehicle, you expect the airbag to deploy in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a design or manufacturing defect results in an airbag malfunction. When they fail, serious injuries can occur. If this happens to you, the manufacturer of the airbag could be liable. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries through a product liability claim.
When Airbag Deployment Should Occur
It’s important to understand airbags aren’t designed to deploy every time an accident occurs. In fact, if they deploy when they’re not supposed to, they can actually cause more harm than good. This is due to the speed and force they’re designed to inflate, which can happen at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.
An airbag should only deploy during a frontal or near-frontal impact of moderate to severe velocity. They shouldn’t deploy during minor accidents such as fender benders. In addition, side or rear impact wrecks that don’t involve deceleration shouldn’t activate deployment either. When an airbag fails to open during front-impact accidents or deploys unnecessarily, a wide range of injuries can occur.
Common Injuries Resulting From Faulty Airbags
The purpose of an airbag is to protect a driver’s head and chest during a head-on collision. When they fail to deploy, a driver is at high risk of sustaining injuries such as:
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord damage
- Fractured ribs
- Injuries to the spleen or kidneys
On the other hand, if an airbag deploys when it’s not supposed to, different types of injuries can result. Victims may sustain:
- Burns to the face, hands, or eyes
- Facial fractures
- Hearing loss
- Wrist sprains or fractures
- Cuts or abrasions
In addition to the medical bills resulting from these or other injuries, you may be dealing with lost wages, and pain and suffering. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights.
Filing a Claim After an Accident
If you were involved in an auto accident and feel your injuries were the result of faulty airbags, the manufacturer may be held liable. Your attorney can file a product liability claim on your behalf. These are complicated cases that may involve simulations of the accident, expert testimony, and an examination of your medical issues.
Receiving a favorable settlement will highly depend on proving either a manufacturing or design defect. A manufacturing defect means the design of the airbag was safe, but it wasn’t manufactured based on specifications. A design defect means the cause of the malfunction was a flaw in the initial design of the airbag. Your attorney will need to examine the details of the accident and the airbag itself to determine if one of these conditions led to the faulty airbag.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
Airbag manufacturers have a responsibility to design and produce their products safely and effectively. When they don’t, they’re putting drivers at serious risk. If you’ve been injured due to a faulty airbag, there’s a good chance you can make a product liability claim against the manufacturer. The North Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Fetterman & Associates have the experience and knowledge to help you the get compensation you deserve. Contact us at (561) 983-4584 to set up a consultation today.