Airbags are supposed to keep us safe. Airbags were initially offered as a premium safety feature, and now multiple airbags are required for all new cars. Unfortunately, when airbags malfunction, they can cause serious injuries, or even death. When a driver is traveling down the highway and the airbag suddenly deploys, the driver can lose control of the car, resulting in a serious car accident.
An airbag is a device installed in the vehicle that deploys a rapid bag full of air, intended to prevent the driver or passenger from hitting their head on the dashboard, door, steering wheel, or otherwise reduce head or neck injuries. When airbags deploy as intended, they can save lives. This is one reason that they are now a mandatory feature on all new vehicles sold in the United States since 1998.
Airbags are controlled by a central airbag control unit (ACU). The ACU has sensors in the vehicle, including an accelerometer, and sensors that measure pressure, impact, wheel speed, and brake pressure. Once the ACU senses an impact, the inflator is triggered, which inflates the airbag. The passenger or driver may hit the airbag, which allows air to escape through vent holes.
Some cars feature multiple airbag devices throughout the vehicle cabin, including:
- Driver airbags
- Passenger airbags
- Side-curtain airbags
- Seat-mounted side impact airbags
- Knee bolster airbags; and
- Seatbelt airbags.
Airbag Malfunction Recalls
Recently, there have been a series of massive recalls on millions of vehicles related to faulty or malfunctioning airbags. The recent Takata airbag recalls affected millions of vehicles in the United States, from at least 10 different automakers. Most of the recalled vehicles are from Honda, but the recall also affects BMD, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota vehicles from model years 2000 to 2011. The Takata airbags have a safety defect that may cause their inflators to explode, causing serious injury or death.
The affected model of the Takata airbags used the cheaper and more unstable ammonium nitrate in airbag inflators. Long-term exposure to hot and humid climates can cause the inflator to rupture, which could project pieces of metal into the driver or passenger. Even in a minor accident, metal shards can be impaled into the occupant's face or neck, causing injury or death. There have already been a number of deaths in the U.S. attributed to these airbag malfunctions. A number of other airbag malfunctions have lead to serious injuries for drivers and passengers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1990 and 2000, 175 people in the U.S. were killed by airbags. Most of the victims have been children. When a child is put in a rear-facing infant seat, the airbag can inflate too close to the child's head, causing serious head injuries, or even death.
A malfunctioning airbag can result in serious injuries to the driver, passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Injuries can range from minor abrasions of the face, to serious bodily injury or even death. Because motor vehicle accidents involve heavy objects traveling at high speeds, passengers and drivers often end up with permanent injuries, including disability, dismemberment, and chronic pain. An airbag malfunction that causes an accident can also lead to thousands of dollars in vehicle and property damage.
If you were injured due to a malfunctioning airbag, you may be facing expensive medical bills, lifelong health care requirements, lost wages, and property damage. The company who made the faulty airbags should be held responsible for all the harm and damage that they caused. You may be able to recover monetary damages, including economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include costs for medical treatment, lost wages, future lost income, and damage to property. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering resulting from the injury.
Maryland Airbag Malfunction Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of an airbag deployment, you deserve compensation for your injuries. An airbag malfunction can cause serious injuries to the occupant's head and neck. This could result in expensive medical bills, lost wages, and reduced future earning capacity. When your attorney files a claim for your injuries, you may be compensated for your damages, as well as for your pain and suffering.
Your experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys will be able to guide you through the process and advise you of each step to take along the way. They will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. If you were injured due to an airbag malfunction, please do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.