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Understanding Air Bag Defects in Personal Injury Claims

Airbags are a fundamental component of modern vehicle safety systems, designed to protect us in the event of a collision.


However, while these life-saving devices have undoubtedly prevented countless injuries, the prevalence of airbag defects raises concerns. Malfunctioning airbags can pose significant dangers to drivers.


In this blog, we aim to shed light on the importance of airbags, the troubling issue of airbag defects, and most importantly, how you can take legal action against automakers to seek justice and compensation in the face of personal injury caused by these defects.


Your safety matters, and so does holding automakers accountable which is exactly what our San Diego personal injury lawyers can help with.

What Are the Different Types of Airbag Defects?

Airbags are meant to be our guardians in times of vehicular accidents, but when they fail, the consequences can be dire. There are several types of airbag defects, each with its unique set of risks. Understanding these defects will help you file a personal injury claim.


Firstly, defective deployment can result in premature airbag activation, unexpectedly inflating when it’s not needed, causing panic and potential harm to the occupants.


Conversely, late deployment or non-deployment means the airbags fail to deploy when they should, leaving occupants vulnerable to severe injuries upon impact.


Inadequate protection is another category of airbag defects, encompassing issues like insufficient inflation, where the airbag doesn’t fully inflate to provide the necessary cushioning, and overinflation, which can lead to excessive force upon deployment, potentially causing injuries in itself.


Shrapnel and other hazards are perhaps the most alarming defects, including airbags that explode upon deployment, spraying metal fragments that can cause severe injuries or even fatalities to those within their reach.


Lastly, sensor and electrical issues encompass malfunctioning sensors that fail to detect a collision or electrical failures that prevent timely airbag deployment, leaving passengers without the protection they expect.


Understanding these types of defects is crucial in recognizing the potential risks and seeking justice if you’ve suffered due to an airbag malfunction.

Common Injuries From Airbag Defects

Airbag defects can lead to a range of injuries, both physical and psychological, amplifying the trauma of a car accident. Physically, victims may suffer burns and abrasions from the chemicals used to inflate the airbag or from the sheer force of deployment.


Facial and head injuries are also common, as airbags deploy rapidly, sometimes striking passengers in sensitive areas. Chest and rib injuries can occur due to the forceful impact of an airbag inflating, especially if it does so with excessive force.


Beyond the physical toll, airbag defects can also cause significant psychological trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a potential outcome, as the sudden and unexpected deployment or malfunction of an airbag can create lasting anxiety and fear associated with driving.


Emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances, is another consequence, as the emotional toll of a car accident can be exacerbated when an airbag fails to protect as intended.


Recognizing these potential injuries is crucial when pursuing a personal injury claim against automakers responsible for airbag defects.

What Responsibility Do Automaker’s Have for Airbag Defects?

Automaker responsibility in the context of airbag defects is paramount. Automakers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their vehicles, which includes designing, manufacturing, and testing airbag systems to meet rigorous safety standards.

Quality control and thorough testing are essential steps in preventing defects that could endanger lives.


When defects are discovered, timely recall procedures are crucial, demonstrating a commitment to addressing issues promptly. Failure to fulfill these obligations can result in manufacturer liability for injuries caused by airbag defects, emphasizing the necessity for automakers to prioritize safety and accountability in their production processes.

What Steps Should Be Taken After an Airbag Defect Injury?

After sustaining an injury due to an airbag defect, taking the right steps in the aftermath is crucial for your health and potential legal claim.


  • Seeking immediate medical attention is paramount. Even if you don’t initially feel injured, some airbag-related injuries may not exhibit symptoms right away. A thorough medical evaluation can identify and document any injuries linked to the airbag defect, ensuring you receive the necessary treatment.


  • Preserving evidence is vital for building a strong case. Maintain the vehicle in the same condition as the accident, refraining from making any repairs or modifications. Keep the airbag intact and take photographs of the accident scene, any visible injuries, and any damage to the vehicle.


  • Notify law enforcement about the accident, and ensure that a formal report is filed. Additionally, report the airbag defect to the vehicle manufacturer and relevant safety authorities, as this can help prevent similar incidents in the future and serve as documentation for your claim.


  • Consultation with a personal injury attorney. Airbag defect cases can be legally complex, and an experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance. They will assess the merits of your case, help identify liable parties, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue legal action if necessary.


These steps will help set victims of these incidents up for a smoother recovery process.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim After an Airbag Defect Injury

Pursuing a personal injury claim following an airbag defect incident requires a strategic and well-informed approach. Documenting the accident scene is essential, as it helps establish the circumstances surrounding the airbag malfunction.

Collecting medical records is equally crucial, as it establishes the extent of your injuries and their relation to the airbag defect. Preserving the vehicle is important to retain evidence of the defect itself.

Automaker responsibility is often central in these defect cases, as they are responsible for the design, manufacture, and quality control of airbags. In some instances, dealership liability may also apply, especially if the vehicle was sold with knowledge of a defective airbag.

Legal considerations include understanding the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a claim, and comparative negligence, which assesses the degree of fault among all parties involved. Hiring an attorney is advisable due to the complexities of personal injury claims.

Move Towards the Compensation You Deserve With Expert Help From Our Trial Attorneys

Airbags are vital for vehicle safety, but when defects occur, the consequences can be devastating. We’ve explored the various types of airbag defects, the injuries they can cause, and the responsibilities of automakers. If you’ve been a victim of an airbag defect, it’s essential to seek legal recourse.


Your well-being and rights matter, and pursuing a personal injury claim can hold automakers accountable for their negligence. By seeking justice and compensation, you not only protect your own interests but also contribute to a safer future for all drivers.


Contact our attorneys today if you’ve experienced a personal injury due to an airbag defect.


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