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Airbag Defect Injuries

by Guy L. Watts II on 02/01/2012

A new report by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reviewed automotive safety technologies and how quickly the advances make it into the majority of vehicles.  Many vehicles on the road today are surprisingly not outfitted with the most current safety features such as airbags.

Automobile manufacturers began adding front air bags to vehicles in the 1980s, but the government didn’t require them until 1999. Based on HLDI predictions, not until 2016 will dual front airbags be found in 95 percent of vehicles, new and old.  Like front airbags, curtain airbags protect occupants in a crash.  The curtain airbags were introduced in 1998. However, it will take until 2028 for 95 percent of vehicles on the road to have these airbags.

Consumers want to buy safe cars, and one of the biggest selling points in the automotive market may be airbags. While airbags can save lives, airbag injuries and deaths occur far too frequently.

The major causes of airbag defect injuries include:

  • Failure to deploy: Airbag non-deployment in a severe crash may be due to a design defect or a manufacturing defect. Generally, the airbag would have deployed if the airbag crash sensor or other components had not failed. The airbag’s failure can cause additional injuries if the occupant impacts the steering wheel or windshield. Proving the cause of an airbag deployment failure can be highly technical, and only a law firm with experience will know the appropriate steps to take.
  • Overpowered deployment: Over time, manufacturers have learned of the need to tone down the force with which airbags deploy. An overpowered airbag can cause deadly injuries in an otherwise simple car accident. A defective airbag or inflator can cause component materials to shoot out from the airbag compartment and strike the driver or occupant in a car crash.
  • Late deployment: If an airbag does not deploy at the appropriate time, the occupant can suffer an additional injury. If the airbag deploys later than it should, allowing a person to move out-of-position, forward, the extreme force from an airbag at close range can cause catastrophic injuries. Late deployments often occur in minor accidents and collisions that differ from the manufacturers’ crash testing.
  • Inadvertent Deployment: When airbags deploy unnecessarily, they may be responsible for causing the accident in the first place, because they can distract, disorient or knock out the driver.

The automotive defect lawyers of Watts Guerra Craft have investigated airbag defects in accidents involving Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Honda, and many other large automotive manufacturers.

Tags: Automotive Defects, Airbags

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