Airbags have become a standard requirement in all cars, light trucks, and vans. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that from 1987 to 2015, frontal airbags have saved 44, 869 lives. However, just like any other manufactured element of a vehicle, airbags have been known to be defective.
Common Airbag Defects
A defective airbag is prone to malfunction. A malfunction can occur if one of the components in the system is not performing properly. Commonly, a component may not work properly because of one of two factors:
- Design Error: An error made in the design of the airbag system causes it to malfunction
- Manufacturing Error: An error made in the manufacturing of the system causes it to malfunction
Often it takes multiple instances of drivers and passengers experiencing a defective airbag before an error is realized. Airbags may unexpectedly deploy and cause serious injury to the vehicle’s occupants. Past reported injuries include:
- Wrist and Arm Injuries to Drivers
- Friction and Power Burns
- Clothes Melted onto Skin
- Impact Injuries, such as Bruising or Broken Bones
- Impact Deaths, particularly to young children
How to Know If You Have a Defective Airbag
When a defective airbag is reported, it is added to a public NHTSA database. If enough similar reports pile up, the NHTSA will open an investigation. Should the NHTSA determine that a set of manufactured airbags creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the airbag manufacturer will issue a recall.
To find out if your vehicle is part of a recall, visit the NHTSA’s website at nhtsa.gov/recall. The best way to specifically narrow down your results is to enter your vehicle’s identification number (VIN), but you can also search by your vehicle’s year, make, and model. Manufacturers and car companies should also notify any potentially affected vehicle owners of the recall.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Airbag
If you experience a defective airbag and are injured, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney. The vehicle designer or manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. Car companies and insurance companies have teams of experienced investigators and lawyers trying to settle your case as quickly and for as little money as possible. If you hire legal representation, you are more likely to receive a fairer fight and a higher settlement than if you attempt to handle the case on your own.
If you’ve been injured due to a defective airbag, give Kamper & Estrada, PLLC a call. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help guide you through what happens next.