Since 1999, car manufacturers have been required to install driver and front passenger airbags in their vehicles. The goal of an airbag is to slow the forward and side motion of drivers and passengers inside a vehicle after a crash. The airbag system consists of an airbag cushion, sensors, and an airbag inflation system.
When a vehicle has been in a car accident, the airbag crash sensor sends a signal to the airbag inflation system which inflates the bag at more than 200 miles per hour. An airbag crash sensor takes approximately 20 milliseconds to decide whether or not to deploy the airbag. If a sensor decides to deploy an airbag, it takes another 20 milliseconds to inflate it. Both of those happen in approximately 1/50 of a second.
Car Manufacturers Lead Buyers to believe their Cars are Safe
When you buy a vehicle, you trust that the vehicle’s airbags will help protect you during a crash. The confidence you hold is, at least in part, because vehicle manufacturers assert their vehicles are safe. They maintain their vehicles go through rigorous testing before being sold. In other words, vehicle manufacturers lead prospective car owners to believe that their vehicle’s airbags will deploy during an accident, which will reduce or prevent injuries. What vehicle manufacturers don’t say is that their airbags will only deploy under certain circumstances, or that at times their airbags are defective and may not deploy at-all.
Unfortunately, airbags are not 100% dependable or effective, and manufacturers know it. Faulty or poorly designed airbags that fail to deploy, deploy incorrectly, or don’t deploy at-all can cause severe injury to drivers and passengers. If an airbag fails and you are injured, you may have a legitimate legal claim against the vehicle manufacturer or company that produced it.
Product Liability Cases
There are three types of product liability cases that can be used to hold a car company liable for injuries sustained after an airbag failure.
“Failure to Warn” Defect – Failure to warn defect cases is one of the more common types of product liability claims used in California. Federal and state laws require that manufacturers, distributors, and all other parties involved in product distribution have a legal duty to adequately provide product warnings to all users. When a consumer is injured or killed as a result of using a product and was not warned of that the specific product malfunction, all parties in the distribution chain can be held liable for injuries sustained.
“Manufacturing” Defect – Claims based on a manufacturing defect state that a product was manufactured incorrectly and therefore dangerous, even though the product design is safe. For example, airbags are designed to inflate during crashes that meet certain criteria. If the inflators installed were manufactured incorrectly, (they were defective) and didn’t inflate the airbags during a crash, it would be considered a manufacturing defect. The manufacturers could have easily remedied the problem by recalling the ineffective inflators and installing ones that worked properly.
“Design” Defect – Claims based on design defects state that a product’s design is so inherently dangerous that it is unreasonably dangerous to consumers. An example could be an airbag that works as it was designed and deploys with such intense force that it causes greater injury to drivers and passengers than should have been caused by the accident. Another example includes a poorly designed accident airbag sensor that deploys intermittently causing personal injury to drivers and passengers.
Speaking with a Los Angeles Car Accident Law Firm
Fully functioning airbags are supposed to help prevent head, chest, neck, back, arm, and leg injuries, as well as others. So what happens when you have been injured in an accident because your airbags didn’t properly deploy or didn’t deploy at all? Who do you hold liable for your injuries?
Vehicle product liability claims are usually very complex and difficult to prove, and that is just one of the many reasons why you need to have an experienced Los Angeles car accident law firm on your side.
Experienced Los Angeles car accident law firms, with knowledge in product liability law, can guide you through the complex investigative process of litigating your product liability claim. Your Los Angeles auto accident lawyer can retain the services of a safety engineer or similar expert witness to testify that the airbags in your car didn’t work when they should have worked as designed.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers is considered to be one of the best car accident lawyers in Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles car accident law firm will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. We have the resources and experience to investigate and litigate complex airbag accident cases, and our initial consultation is free.
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.
We have offices in and around Los Angeles and throughout California.