Most automobile manufacturers resisted installing airbags in their cars for many years, until the federal government finally mandated it in the late ‘80’s. Then the same companies that resisted this technology for so long started changing their tune completely. They started trumpeting how their cars supposedly had more and better airbags than their competitors’ cars. TV ads showed airbags deploying in slow motion, making them look like big, fluffy pillows.
While there is no question that airbags have saved lives, there is also no question that some auto manufacturers have failed to use the most up-to-date technology to make airbags as safe and effective as possible.
This may have resulted in the loss of life or serious injury.
All too often, companies have placed profits ahead of safety and have installed defective airbag systems that fail to deploy when needed or deploy unexpectedly in response to a minor crash or no crash at all.
In general, airbags are supposed to deploy when the front of the car collides with another car or other type of object at a certain speed. Small sensors in the engine area are supposed to detect such a collision and signal the airbags to deploy. However, some sensors are better than others, and the cheaper systems are not always effective at recognizing when a serious collision has occurred.
The newer airbag systems also typically have sensors in the seats that are designed to turn off the passenger side airbag if no one is riding in that seat or if the occupant is below a certain size. The idea is to prevent the airbag from deploying and seriously injuring a child or very small adult. Here again, there are good sensors and bad sensors. The cheap systems sometimes have difficulty distinguishing a normal sized woman from a child, and, as a result, they will turn off the airbag when it should not be turned off. This sometimes prevents passengers from getting the benefit of an airbag during a crash.
When an airbag fails to deploy in a serious crash, the results can be catastrophic. The occupant can strike his or her head on the dashboard, or other part of the car, resulting in a brain injury or even death. The technology exists to prevent these sorts of tragedies, but all too often, the auto manufacturers try to trim costs by installing airbag systems that do not use the best technology.
Serious injuries and deaths have forced auto manufacturers to issue massive recalls of airbags. If you have been injured, or lost a loved one, as a result of defective airbags, please contact us. We are California attorneys who have experience winning defective airbag lawsuits.
If you are a plaintiff’s lawyer handling an automobile collision case with serious injuries, and you think there might be an issue concerning the non-deployment of an airbag (or other airbag malfunction), we would be happy to consult with you and offer our advice as to the viability of an airbag-related claim. If appropriate, we could partner with you to handle the lawsuit as a team.
There are a small handful of expert witnesses around the United States who are the recognized authorities on airbag technology and the consequences of airbag nondeployment. We have worked with all of these experts, and we can bring them in to determine if an airbag defect was responsible for your client’s injuries.
Litigating against the big auto manufacturers is a very difficult, expensive proposition. We have done it many times before, and we are willing to spend the time and money necessary to get the best results possible. We are very familiar with the technical issues concerning airbag deployment (and non-deployment). You do not have to reinvent the wheel.
Click here for more information on handling a deadly airbag personal injury case.
Feel free to contact us any time to discuss any airbag-related issue.