Atlanta Airbag Injury Attorneys
Defective and Dangerous Airbags
There was a time in our history when automobile manufacturers offered seatbelts as "options" that a consumer may choose to add when purchasing a car. Those times are long gone, however. Not only are seatbelts standard in vehicles now, but we have even more protection in the event of a car crash - airbags. But airbags are not without hazards.
What is An Airbag?
Airbags are considered supplemental restraints that are meant to work best when used in conjunction with seatbelts. The system, whether frontal or side airbags, works on a three-part system, which includes an airbag module, a diagnostic unit and crash sensors. Many vehicles also have a switch that can deactivate the airbag.
The module contains the lightweight fabric airbag and the inflator unit. When completely inflated, the driver's side airbag is the size of a large beach ball. A passenger-side airbag would be larger since a passenger sits farther away from the module, which is usually in the glove box.
The diagnostic unit monitors the condition of the airbag system and activates a warning light should any problems arise. Most often, this unit also contains an electrical device that can deploy the airbag even if the car's battery is destroyed in a crash.
The crash sensors are usually located in the front of the car and/or in the passenger compartment. All vehicles have at least one crash sensor, which is activated when significant force is generated in a crash. Slamming on the brakes or driving on uneven roads will not activate airbags unless they are defective.
Defective Airbag Systems
When the airbag system is installed properly and is working correctly it provides an added level of safety that can mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, when an airbag does NOT function properly it can cause serious injury and even death, the very things it is meant to prevent.
An airbag deploys at a speed of approximately 100 mph, which is why a defective system is potentially so dangerous. Common defects that can cause an injury include:
- Crash sensor malfunction that causes inadvertent deployment;
- Electrical short circuit that causes inadvertent deployment;
- Improper installation, which may cause an airbag to deploy from too close a distance; and
- Poor construction, causing the bag to explode once fully inflated.
Any of the aforementioned defects has the potential to cause severe injuries. Although a person may sustain minor abrasions or even burns with a normally functioning airbag, the injuries a person may sustain from one that does not function properly can be much more severe for the sole reason that it is not expected. Leaning forward to check the speedometer, to change the radio station or to tie your shoelaces before leaving the car can be deadly if an airbag deploying at 100 mph makes such close contact with the head. Victims of inadvertent airbag deployment may suffer a number of injuries, including:
- Broken nose;
- Fractured jaw;
- Fractured cheekbones;
- Facial bruising;
- Broken hands or fingers;
- Broken neck;
- Brain injury;
- Spinal cord injury; and
- Eye injury.
Exercising Your Legal Rights in Georgia
Airbags are supposed to protect you from the previously named injuries in the event of an auto accident, not cause them themselves. If you or a loved one has been injured by an airbag in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses associated with your injuries, including medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering and rehabilitative services.
At Grant Law Office, our dedicated Atlanta auto product liability lawyers are committed to obtaining justice for our clients. Contact one of our attorneys for a consultation today at (404) 995-3955 or toll-free at (866) 249-5513. We look forward to answering all of your questions.
- Honda Adds More Vehicles to Airbag Recall
- Takata Still Uses Chemical Linked to Fatal Airbag Defect
- Government Steps in To Aid Airbag Recall
- NHTSA Warns Georgia Motorists of Defective Airbag Risks
- Honda Issues Recall of 374,618 Vehicles due to Inadvertent Air Bag Deployment
- How Airbags Work, And How They Can Fail - Popular Science
- Air Bags - NHTSA