Airbags save thousands of lives every year; however, a defective airbag can cause unnecessary harm to passengers, and those who have suffered injuries as a result of airbag problems may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Victims of auto accidents often suffer unnecessary injuries as a result of defective airbag systems. Some of the problems may include airbags that:
- Deploy with excessive force and speed
- Carry inadequate warnings
- Are too big
- Deploy unnecessarily in low-speed accidents
- Malfunction because of electrical problems
- Fail to deploy properly because of faulty sensors
Passengers who most commonly suffer injuries from defective airbags are children and small-statured women. Defective airbags can cause blindness, severe head injuries, brain damage and even death.
Laws against selling defective airbags "knowingly and intentionally" make doing so a felony punishable by a fine of $10,000 and up to three years in jail. In these cases, people who have suffered injuries as a result of the installation of defective airbags may recover damages from dealers who installed them or even car manufacturers.
Takata Airbag Recall
It is currently estimated that 19 million U.S. vehicles have been recalled to date because of the Takata airbag defect. Estimates are that 34 million U.S. vehicles are potentially affected.
The issue involves Takata airbag inflators and propellant devices that may deploy prematurely in an accident, shooting metal fragments into occupants of the vehicle. A New York Times report in September 2015 said there were 139 reported injuries from faulty airbags across all manufacturers and at least two deaths.
In that report, the Times said that Honda and other manufacturers were aware of the airbag defect long before any recall was initiated. By law, manufacturers are required to report any defect to federal regulators within five business days of the defect's discovery. The Times said that Honda had been aware of the defect as early as 2004, when an airbag explosion occurred in a 2002 Honda Accord in Alabama. The driver was injured, and the automaker settled the claim.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains a list of all recalled car makes and models on its website as well as a VIN look-up tool that consumers can use to determine whether or not their vehicle is involved in the worldwide recall.
If you have suffered injuries from an unsafe or defective product, the experienced product liability legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.