Airbags are a vital element of protection in case of an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags save several thousands of lives annually. Even though the invention and required inclusion of airbags has saved lives, deployment failure has also taken lives and caused serious injuries.
2 Most Common Causes of Airbag Deployment Failure
Airbag deployment failure can occur for a variety of reasons such as failure to deploy, or the airbags deploy when not needed. In either situation, airbags can cause injuries in a variety of ways.
Looking just at our local area of Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile County, between 2010 and 2014* there were approximately 1,219 automotive accidents where the airbag of the vehicle which caused the accident either did not deploy when it was supposed to or deployed when it was not supposed to. And, over 1000 of these cases occurred in Mobile County Alabama. In addition, 19% of these accidents involved a serious injury.
In nearly 97% of these Alabama accidents the airbag switch was “on” but the airbag failed to deploy.
Common ways that airbags cause injuries:
- Airbags fail to deploy when needed
- Manufacture fails to install the airbags
- Airbags deploy in a low impact crash, when they should normally not deploy, and cause death or injury.
- The airbag deploy at such speeds that it causes burns or abrasions.
- Chemicals involved in the release create an allergic reaction, asthma or other irritation.
- Debris released during airbag deployment causes an injury.
As you can see, there are many more ways that airbags can cause a serious injury than most people tend to think. If you’ve been in an auto accident due to any of these reasons, you may have a lawsuit on your hands due to a manufacturer defect. You’ll likely require the skills of a Mobile or Baldwin County liability attorney in order to adequately resolve your complaint.
Notable Airbag Recalls
Airbag recalls are not as uncommon as you might think. Every year, airbag manufacturers and automobile manufacturers issue recalls for airbags.
- In 2004, over 1.4 million recalls were issued as related to airbag safety. This is an increase of 350,000 recalls from the previous years. Most of these recalls were related to wiring issues that would deploy for seemingly no reason.
- In 2008, Honda issued a widespread recall because some airbags opened with too much force. In these accidents, metal parts of the airbag assembly be propelled through the airbag.
- In 2011, Honda expanded their recall to 833,000 additional vehicles that may have inadvertently been equipped with faulty airbags.
- Concurrently, Hyundai issued a recall for any 2007-2009 Elantra sedans because of sensor malfunctions that would result in incorrect airbag deployment in such a way that it created a larger problem to smaller passengers.
The above recalls are a small sample of all of the recalls that are processed every year. This indicates that airbags are not as perfected and safe as many people believe. Anyone who has been in a serious auto accident and been injured due to a faulty airbag should certainly pursue restitution for their injuries. Both physical, mental and emotional injuries can be grounds for a lawsuit.
Potential Defendants in Airbag Related Lawsuits
There are multiple parties that may be responsible for airbag related injury cases:
- The manufacturer of the airbag
- The vehicle manufacturer
- In some cases, a dealer or private owner may inspect or maintain airbags. In these situations, part of the inspection may have caused the airbag to malfunction when in use.
Determining exactly who is responsible will require a thorough examination of your vehicle by a skilled mechanic, as well as being represented by a highly skilled Alabama auto attorney. Due to the complexity of airbag injury cases, it’s well worth your time to seek out an attorney with experience in previous airbag cases. The right Alabama personal injury attorney will know exactly the next step throughout the entire case and help you feel confident about your suit.
Noel B. Leonard is a skilled Alabama auto accident attorney who represents accident victims in airbag malfunction or airbag failure cases which result in serious injury. Attorney Leonard is a Foley Injury Lawyer and represents victims in Baldwin, Mobile, and Escambia Counties in Alabama. Schedule a consultation today or call 251-732-2701.
*Accident Data procured from The CARE Project – Center for Advanced Public Safety, The University of Alabama, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, All Law http://caps.ua.edu/