While airbags are known for saving countless lives, they have also been known to cause serious injury to automobile operators and passengers -especially in cases involving defective products.
The Rundown on Airbag Anatomy in Automobiles
The most common types of airbags are front airbags and side airbags. Front airbags are located in the front seats of vehicles on the driver and passenger sides. Frontal airbags have been mandatory in all cars sold in the U.S. since 1995. In the event of a moderate to severe crash, the driver’s airbag deploys from the steering wheel, while the passenger’s airbag comes from the dashboard.
Side airbags are designed to protect passengers from an impact on the side of the vehicle. There are several types of side airbags, including torso airbags and curtain airbags, which protect the occupant’s midsection and head, respectively. Front center airbags are also sometimes installed in cars, which are located between the front seats and are deployed to protect occupants from a collision on the opposite side of the vehicle.
It is important to note that airbags are not meant to deploy in all crashes but only in moderate to severe ones – the equivalent of hitting a solid, fixed object at 8 to 14 mph or faster. In such a scenario, the airbag system’s electronic control unit sends a signal to an inflator in the airbag module, which then starts a chemical reaction that produces a gas that immediately inflates the airbag within a fraction of a second. Since airbags can only deploy once, they must be replaced immediately after a crash before the car can be driven again.
How Airbags Can Cause Injuries
Airbags are known to have saved an estimated 50,457 lives between the late 1980s and 2017. In any case, thousands of people still report airbag injuries, in addition to a few hundred deaths. There are still numerous root causes that lead to airbag injuries every day.
- Misfire – It has been discovered that on some occasions, airbags will unintentionally deploy when it is not necessary. This could be after a very minor fender-bender or even while parked or idling.
- Failure to deploy – One of the more common incidents of airbags causing injuries is actually the lack of airbag deployment altogether. If an airbag does not deploy during a serious crash, the livelihood of the occupant is put at serious risk.
- Delayed airbag deployment – Similar to a failure to deploy, delayed airbag deployment can mean that an airbag is not preventing the initial injury from the crash to occur – sometimes even causing further injury if the occupant is in a new, vulnerable position part-way through the accident.
Who Is Responsible for Airbag Injuries in Arizona?
The serious ramifications of airbag malfunction can have long-lasting impacts on victims. Head and neck injuries, organ damage, and broken bones are all types of injuries sustained by a malfunctioning airbag that can be fought for in a court of law. In the case of an airbag malfunction, the vehicle or airbag manufacturer may be held responsible in a product liability suit.
To learn how an Arizona airbag malfunction attorney can help you recover compensation for injuries sustained as a result of defective airbags, call the Law Offices of William D. Black at 602.265.2600 or reach out to us online by following this link for a free case evaluation.