Airbags have made headlines recently, and not for the reasons one might hope. Instead of protecting drivers and passengers, some airbags have been causing injuries, ranging from burns to eye injuries and, unfortunately, death. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident and your injuries were worsened by a defective airbag, contact an experienced Woodland Hills personal injury lawyer. An airbag, which is likely located in either the steering wheel or in a panel on the dashboard, is connected to a crash sensor. The sensor works by deploying at the moment the car gets into a severe crash (which usually means a head-on or near head-on collision with speeds ranging from 8 to 14 miles per hour).
When airbags deploy, they burst out of the dashboard at speeds topping 100 miles per hour. The airbags can be hot, dusty, and covered in chemicals. The airbag deploys in about 1/20th of a second, meaning the average person has very little time to react. If you are injured when an airbag deploys, you may have a claim for damages.
While most airbags function properly, when there are deployment errors, a malfunctioning crash sensor is often to blame. The sensor may deploy the airbag at the wrong time, it may not deploy at all, or it may deploy one airbag but not the other. Airbags supplied by a Japanese manufacturer in Honda and Toyota cars made the news recently, because upon deployment, the airbags propelled shrapnel and other debris directly into the driver’s or passenger’s necks, causing very serious injuries. Federal regulators have urged owners of vehicles carrying these airbags to fix them immediately, because the risk of injury is so great.
Bringing a Claim for a Defective Airbag
If a malfunctioning airbag has caused injuries, you may have a claim against a number of defendants. Potential defendants could include the automobile manufacturer, the airbag manufacturer, or possibly anyone responsible for inspection, maintenance, repair, or replacement.
If you were injured in an auto accident and you wish to bring a claim, be sure to preserve evidence of the airbag. This may be difficult after an accident, so if you can remember to take pictures, that will help. An even better approach is to verify that parts of the airbag, the bag itself, and the crash sensor are still intact. Do not let the car be “junked” or transferred to the insurance company. This can be challenging if the car is totaled, because the insurer will want to take possession of the car. Be sure to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as they will help walk you through the process.
For more information on potential financial recovery related to accident injuries caused by defective airbags, contact Woodland Hills accident lawyer Barry P. Goldberg today.