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Collecting Compensation for Injuries Caused by Defective Airbags

September 27, 2017

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Manufacturers are required to comply with certain safety regulations when designing and producing airbags. Unfortunately, many companies bypass these rules by failing to adequately test their products or by using inferior materials. In most cases, these measures reflect a manufacturer’s desire to save money. However, in the long run, these types of shortcuts can end up causing devastating injuries for unsuspecting passengers. To learn more about collecting compensation for injuries you suffered because your airbag was defective, please contact an experienced product liability lawyer who can explain the process of filing a claim.

Airbag System Design

Since airbags were initially installed in the 1970’s, thousands of lives have been saved and injuries prevented by airbag systems. Their effectiveness largely stems from their design, which allows the bags to completely inflate within 1/20th of a second after an electronic sensor recognizes that a car has rapidly decelerated as a result of impact. Although effective, airbag systems are extremely complicated, and even a minor defect with one part of the design or assembly process can cause the whole system to malfunction.

Typical Airbag Defects

Because airbag design is so complicated, there are actually a number of ways in which the devices can be defective. However, the most common defects involve:

  • Problems with the software;
  • Faulty wiring;
  • Damaged electronics;
  • Overpowered inflators, which cause the bags to expand too quickly and explode;
  • Inadequate venting; and
  • Improper installation or assembly due to negligence or the use of inferior materials.

Regardless of the cause of an airbag system’s failure to deploy properly, these types of defects can result in serious injuries for both passengers and drivers. The most common injuries include:

  • Broken ribs;
  • Bruising and abrasions;
  • Facial fractures;
  • Head trauma;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Lacerations;
  • Organ damage; and
  • Whiplash.

Fortunately, when injured parties can prove that a manufacturer’s negligence was the cause of their injuries, they may be able to recover damages sufficient to pay for medical bills.

Manufacturer Liability

In 2007, vehicle manufacturers were ordered by federal regulators to begin installing only certified-advanced airbags. These measures have gone a long way towards making airbags safer. Unfortunately, even when an airbag is designed to meet these standards, a minor defect in assembly or production could cause the whole system to fail. When these defects can be traced to someone’s negligence in evaluating test results, using proper assembly procedures and materials, or using reasonable care during the design process, the at-fault company can be held accountable in court. Injured parties who can demonstrate this link to a manufacturer’s negligence are eligible to collect compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Contact a Member of Our Product Liability Legal Team Today

If you were injured in a crash and your airbag either did not deploy or failed to deploy correctly, please call van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim at (215) 486-0123. We can help you schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team who can explain your legal options and where to go from here.



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