Airbag Injuries Are In The News Again: What Drivers Need To Know If They Wreck
There's been a spate of recall alerts from some major manufacturers in recent weeks over defective airbags -- putting the focus again on how dangerous defective motor vehicle equipment can be. Defects in an airbag, for example, can either cause an accident in the first place or turn what could have been a relatively minor accident into something lethal.
Here's what drivers should know about airbag defects in motor vehicles and their rights under the law.
How bad is the problem with defective airbags?
There's no clear picture of just how bad the problem with defective airbags actually is -- but if recent recall announcements are any indication, the issue is both serious and common. For example, BMW issued a recall of around 357,000 vehicles due to concern that they could malfunction and even kill people.
These kinds of announcements seldom come out of the blue, so you can bet that there have been problems that have gone under the public's radar for a while.
What kind of injuries can a defective airbag cause?
Defective airbags can deploy suddenly while a car is in use -- causing a driver to spin out of control and get into a wreck. They can also deploy after just a minor bump, with an excessive amount of force. Instead of protecting car accident victims from injuries, defective airbags can cause:
- Friction burns and scars to a person's face, arms, and chest
- Lacerations to the victim's internal organs, including their heart, spleen, and lungs
- Brain damage from the force of the impact of the airbag into the victim's head
- Permanent injuries to a person's back or neck, including spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Internal bleeding that can turn deadly before the victim knows they are seriously injured
- Lung irritation and asthma attacks from the chemicals they release
- Broken fingers, wrists, arms, facial bones, and ribs
- Damage to the victim's inner ear and permanent hearing loss
- Eye injuries and damage to the orbital bones around the eyes
Any of these injuries can be severe and have long-lasting consequences.
What are an auto accident victim's rights when an airbag is defective?
If you believe that an airbag caused your injuries or caused them to be more severe, you have the legal right to expect the vehicle's manufacturer to compensate you -- even if you wrecked your own car or were hit by another driver. The vehicle's maker and the airbag's manufacturer alike may have to share liability for your injuries and suffering due to strict rules regarding unsafe, defective consumer products.
In many car accidents where an airbag deployed and led to additional injuries, suing the person who caused the accident can't fully cover all of a victim's losses because of policy limitations. An experienced auto accident lawyer will look to hold the negligent airbag manufacturer accountable as well.