Posted on Apr 4, 2015 8:30am PDT

Airbags are extremely important and potentially lifesaving devices that protect drivers and passengers from harm during a car accident. They have saved nearly 26,000 people’s lives in the last 25 years, according to governmental reports. However, airbags do not always operate properly, and in some cases they can actually cause fatalities. Close to 300 people have died as a result of air bag defects since 1990.

At the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley, we help victims of auto accidents exercise their rights and obtain just compensation for their damages. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys understand the link between auto accidents and defective airbags, so we can help you make your case. Read on to learn more about common issues with airbags, how you can lower your risks, and what we can do to help you if you suffer from an airbag-related car accident injury.

Common Airbag Defects

A properly functioning airbag releases and fills with air in the event of impact. Airbags typically deploy from the front or side of the vehicle to cushion passengers from the blow. These devices can malfunction by:

  • Failing to release and serve their purpose in an accident. Some airbags may also release too late, inflating after the crash occurs.
  • Filling with air too quickly or forcefully, injuring passengers rather than protecting them from harm.
  • Activating in smaller accidents when they are unnecessary. This can be due to overactive or improperly calibrated crash sensors. In order to counteract the effects of a collision, airbags typically travel at speeds over 200 miles per hour, which could seriously harm passengers if not needed.
  • Deploying in a spherical shape. Airbags should inflate in a rectangular pillow shape to protect passengers without harming them. If the straps holding the airbags are damaged, they might release improperly.
  • Inflating directly outward. Airbags should deploy upward and then move outward so they do not hit the passengers with as much force.
  • Being inappropriately proportioned for passengers. If the automobile manufacturing company designed the airbags for a particular body shape, these devices might harm passengers with different figures or heights.

Making Your Case

Defective airbags can cause a variety of injuries, including fractures, sprains, strains, burns, abrasions, respiratory issues, eye conditions, hearing loss, brain injury, or even death. If you have suffered physical, emotional, and financial damages as a result of an airbag malfunction, your automobile manufacturer may be liable. Our attorneys can collect forensic evidence, recreate the accident, speak to witnesses, speak with physicians, and compile other information to determine fault and hold the responsible party accountable. Other factors that influence negligence include drunk driving and distracted behaviors such as texting.

If your damages resulted partially or completely due to a defective airbag, your automobile manufacturing company may cover your:

  • Medical bills, such as surgical expenses, medications, or physical therapy
  • Repair costs for the car or other property
  • Loss of income due to temporary or permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering resulting from the auto accident

Minimizing Your Risks

There are preventive steps you can take to reduce your chances of being injured by a malfunctioning airbag. These include:

  • Using your seat belt.
  • Seating children in the back seat (in car seats if appropriate), since they may not be the proper stature for airbag deployment. If you must sit younger passengers in the front seat, switch off the airbag if possible.
  • Avoiding sitting within 10 inches of the steering wheel or glove compartment.
  • Following traffic laws and paying attention to the road to avoid an accident in the first place.
  • Paying attention to automobile manufacturers’ recalls for airbag defects.
  • Taking your vehicle in for regular maintenance, during which your mechanic may notice and correct any airbag defects.

Have You Been Injured By a Defective Airbag?

If a faulty airbag caused or contributed to your auto accident injury, our legal firm can help you seek fair compensation for your damages. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your case.

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