Many car accidents can be attributed to the human factor. However, drivers are not always the cause of all car accidents. Similar to defective tires and other faulty car parts, in some accidents, defective air bags are the catalyst for thousands of accidents which result in death or injuries each year.
Motor vehicles are highly complex machines made up of many separate components. Automakers strive to make sure their quality assurance processes catches any defects, but it only takes one defective component to cause an accident. Ironically, even safety components such as airbags can fail to work properly and cause death or injury to drivers or passengers.
In the U.S., airbags have been available in cars and other vehicles since the 1970s. They were designed to provide a cushion for drivers and passengers during a crash and to protect their heads and bodies from hitting the steering wheel, windshield or side windows. Initially, airbags were installed only in the front compartment of a vehicle and intended to only cushion the upper body; today, however, there are side-impact bags, knee airbags and rear curtain bags, just to name a few.
Although airbags do save lives and reduce the seriousness of injuries, they are not trouble-free. Like other vehicle components, airbags affected by either defective parts or careless installation can have negative effects on drivers or passengers.
The most common defects related to airbags are:
- Failure to deploy properly at the time of an impact
- Premature or spontaneous deployment of an airbag
- Deployment of airbag too forceful
Defects in airbag safety devices affect hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the United States alone. For instance, Toyota and Honda collectively recalled 1.5 million vehicles in 2012 because of problems related to airbags. Additionally, though no fatalities were reported in that particular series of product recalls, in 2011 20 accidents and two deaths were attributed to airbags that either deployed unexpectedly or with too much physical force.
Getting Legal Help
The consequences of a car accident with defective airbags are usually grim. Serious injury or even death may occur, and even in the best of circumstances there are financial losses involved. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a defective airbag, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced car accident attorney well versed in product liability laws which cover defective parts such as airbags can help. Give us a call today for a free consultation.