Car accidents are a known risk, which is why automobile manufacturers are required to equip vehicles with certain safety devices. As of 1989, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has mandated a seatbelt system in all vehicles. More recently, in 1995, the NHTSA stipulated that all motor vehicles must also have dual front airbags.
When used in conjunction, seatbelts and airbags significantly decrease the risk of death. Unfortunately, car accidents involving airbags still cause injuries, and sometimes airbag defects cause their own injuries. Car accident lawyers at Reed & Terry, L.L.P. can help their Sugar Land, TX, Katy, TX, and Richmond, TX, clients explore legal options regarding compensation for car accident injuries related to airbags.
How Are Airbags Intended to Work?
An airbag is a light piece of material that is enclosed in a car’s steering wheel and dashboard (many vehicles have side impact airbags in the door as well). Airbags are connected to a crash sensor that triggers them to quickly inflate and deploy in the event of a serious accident. When deployed, an airbag prevents drivers or passengers from hitting the vehicle, or going through the vehicle’s windshield. After deployment, an airbag quickly deflates to prevent suffocation.
It is important to note that not all accidents will trigger an airbag. In the event of a head-on collision or near head-on collision, airbags should deploy in any crash where vehicles are traveling above speeds of 8 to 10mph. In all other crashes, airbags should deploy if the impact of the crash is moderate to severe. In other words, if a seatbelt can provide sufficient protection in the crash, airbags should not deploy.
Potential Airbag Defects
Airbags are hugely beneficial when they work as intended, but airbag defects do occur. There are several things that could go wrong with an airbag, any one of which could cause our clients to become injured, or worsen the damages of a car accident.
- The airbag crash sensor malfunctions and the airbag deploys when there has not been an accident
- The airbag fails to deploy when there has been a significant accident
- Only one of a car’s airbags deploys during a crash
- The airbag deploys too aggressively
- The airbag deploys too late into the crash
Can I Sue for Airbag Injuries?
Even when an airbag deploys correctly, passengers can suffer injuries. Airbags deploy at excessive speeds, which create a significant impact. Additionally, airbags contain dust and other chemicals that can burn or injure an accident victim.
If an airbag deploys as intended, it is likely that any injuries incurred would still be less than those that would be suffered had an airbag not been in place. In these cases, accident victims can sue the driver responsible for the accident for resulting airbag injuries and damages, as they would with any other accident injuries or damages.
If an airbag malfunctions and causes injuries, our clients may have other legal options to explore. Depending on the details of the accident and what type of defect occurred, victims who suffer injuries related to an airbag malfunction may be able to seek compensation from:
- The vehicle manufacturer
- The airbag manufacturer
- Any party who was responsible for airbag maintenance or inspection
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffered airbag injuries, the attorneys at Reed & Terry, L.L.P. can help you explore your right to financial compensation for damages. To learn more, call (281) 201-0988 and schedule a free case review at your earliest convenience.