Airbags and Personal Injury
We associate airbags with safety because they are designed to cushion passengers from the impact of a collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that airbags save thousands of lives annually, although there are studies that because airbags are designed for the average person, smaller and bigger than average individuals are likely to sustain slightly more severe injuries. However, airbags can also pose their own danger to even average sized passengers when they malfunction primarily because of the explosive nature of their deployment, and the fact that they are constructed from potentially dangerous components if they are not properly installed or manufactured.
There have been several recalls of vehicles due to defective airbags ranging from airbags that don’t deploy to those that deploy prematurely. The dangers of a non-functioning airbag are obvious in the event of a collision, but an airbag that goes off inappropriately can be nearly as bad. Airbags that deploy prematurely can cause severe injuries including but not limited to traumatic brain injury, fractures, suffocation, and lacerations.
Recent recalls of vehicles because of defective air bags include the one in 2004 for 1.4 million vehicles equipped with air bags that deployed for no reason because of wiring issues. In 2008, Honda recalled vehicles identified as having airbags that deployed with excessive force, sending debris flying out and causing severe injuries, even death. This recall was expanded three years later for more than 800,000 vehicles. Hyundai also issued a recall within this time frame for its Elantra model years 2007-2009 for faulty air bags that could injure smaller passengers. Other car companies that issued airbag-related recalls include Ford and Chrysler.
The tragedy is these recalls often come too late for some passengers, or car owners are unaware that their vehicles have defective airbags until something happens. The injuries are often severe, and may even cause death. If you or an immediate family member has been seriously injured by a defective airbag, you may be able to get compensated for your losses. Find a competent personal injury lawyer in your area to have a better understanding of your case.