Yes, an airbag can cause injuries. Because of the force when it deploys, it can lead to minor burns and abrasions. But not all injuries are characteristic of normal deployment; some are caused by a defect in the airbag.
Injuries Stemming from a Defective Airbag
Ironically, the very device that is meant to prevent injuries and save lives can end up causing harm in car accidents if the product is defective. When it malfunctions, it could lead to a claim filed against the manufacturer.
The types of injuries can range:
- Cuts and lacerations to the face, neck and chest
- Head trauma
- Internal chest injuries
- Damage to an eye
- The force of a defective airbag could cause death in some cases
Types of Airbag Defects That Could Cause Serious Injuries
Airbags have been a major subject of recalls in the auto industry. In fact, the year 2013 saw these numbers reach new records, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But the problem isn’t always in the way the airbags deploy. Some people are injured when the airbag fails to deploy in a serious accident.
Other defects besides the airbag not deploying have included:
- Metal fragments/shards projected throughout the vehicle and toward occupants
- Underperformance of the airbag
- Deploying unexpectedly (when not in an accident)
- Delayed deployment
- Deploying with excessive force
Various components, such as the crash sensor, can be faulty. Whatever the cause, if you or a loved one suffered serious injury because of an airbag defect, it’s important to talk with an attorney to discuss if the manufacturer could be liable.
How to Proceed with a Claim When a Faulty Airbag is to Blame for Injuries
Injured drivers must first determine whether it’s truly a defect with the airbag that caused their injuries. It’s important to collect all proper evidence, which includes maintaining the condition of the car after the accident and not making any repairs. Have an experienced auto expert (such as a technician or mechanic) look at the vehicle to verify the airbag malfunctioned.
Preserve the vehicle. Make sure nothing is thrown away. If the car is totaled, don’t allow it to go to the junkyard. Don’t allow the insurance company to take possession of it. Make arrangements to keep it somewhere safe.
Another important step to take is to look into the possibility that the vehicle was recalled because of a problem with the airbags. Consumers should be notified of recalls, but check the NHTSA website anyway. If it was the subject of a recall, print this information and share it with your attorney, who may use it as evidence of the airbag’s defectiveness.
The next thing to consider is who may be liable. Commonly it’s the manufacturer, which could include the maker of the vehicle and/or the airbag. Sometimes it’s the fault of someone who worked on the vehicle; for instance, a dealership or auto repair shop who replaced the airbag with a faulty one. Or a repair shop might have failed to properly inspect it.
Most importantly, contact an attorney. These types of cases can be very complicated and will require ample evidence. There can be obstacles that get in the way, such as dealing with the insurance company and figuring out how to proceed with a claim against the manufacturer or other parties. Call Hensley Legal Group at (317) 472-3333 to set up your appointment with a lawyer.