Modern cars and trucks are often equipped with safety features designed
to keep occupants safe in the event of a collision with external objects
or other vehicles. These features can include crash avoidance technologies,
automatic braking systems, lane departure warnings, and backover prevention
mechanisms. Airbags are among the oldest and most widely employed of these
safety devices. Airbags are designed to rapidly inflate during a car crash,
cushioning occupants from impacts with the interior of the vehicle. In
many cases, airbags significantly reduce the severity of the injuries
that vehicle occupants would have sustained had the accident occurred
in a vehicle that was not equipped with airbags. Unfortunately, when airbags
malfunction, they can also cause serious injuries that may leave victims
with long-term medical issues. In these instances, victims can often recover
for their losses by filing a legal claim against the company that manufactured
the vehicle or the airbag. Because these kinds of cases are often highly
litigious, it is important for anyone injured by a defective airbag to
retain a qualified Atlanta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible
after an accident occurs.
Airbags almost always inflate by explosive charges that deploy with significant
force. As a result, any malfunction or manufacturing defect has the potential
to cause serious injury to vehicle occupants. Some of the most common
ways that airbags malfunction are detailed below.
Accidental deployment is one of the most dangerous forms of airbag malfunction.
As the name of this malfunction implies, accidental deployment occurs
when an airbag inflates randomly and without warning. This can occur in
situations where an impact sensor is overly sensitive, potentially deploying
the airbag if the vehicle hits a bump in the road or decelerates quickly,
or sometimes even completely randomly. Unintentional deployment can startle
a driver, potentially causing him or her to turn the wheel or stop suddenly,
which can easily cause an accident.
Overly forceful deployment
In some cases, airbag deployment mechanisms are overfilled with combustible
material, resulting in an overly forceful deployment. This can cause serious
injuries to a person’s face, head, or neck, including facial fractures,
bruising, whiplash, or even a concussion or serious traumatic brain injury.
Rupturing inflator mechanisms
Airbags with rupturing inflator mechanisms have recently been in the news
as part of massive recall involving several auto manufacturers and millions
of vehicles. Reports indicate that airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation,
a Japanese auto part manufacturer, have defective inflators and propellant
devices that have the potential of shooting metal shards into vehicle
occupants if the airbags deploy. According to a report in the Wall Street
Journal, the president of the company stepped down late last year as a
result of the issue.
Contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer today to schedule a free consultation
Anyone who has been injured in an accident involving a defective airbag
or other defective auto part should retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
To schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced personal injury
lawyers of Goldstein & Hayes, call our office today at (404) 869-8600.