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 & Lina, call our office today at (404) 869-8600.