There have been major advances in vehicle technology when it comes to safety features. Some of these features include emergency braking, blind-spot detection, seat belt restraints, and airbag systems. The purpose of all of these features is to eliminate or reduce the severity of car accident injuries. For example, studies show that when airbags are deployed correctly, they reduce the rate of deaths in head-on crashes by almost 25 percent.
There are all kinds of reasons why car accidents occur. Some of the most common that we see in the cases we handle at our Virginia personal injury firm include drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding. As a result, innocent victims suffer injuries. However, there are also crashes where the airbag does not function as it should, and instead of minor injuries, the victim sustains serious to severe injuries. In these cases, there may be more than one party who is liable for the victim’s injuries.
How Airbags Work
Airbags provide crucial cushioning for people during a crash. They're normally hidden but inflate instantly when a crash begins. Today’s vehicles have front airbags in the steering wheel and dashboard, as well as side airbags. Some vehicle manufacturers have started installing rear-window curtain airbags are designed to protect people in back seats in rear-end crashes, front-center airbags keep drivers and front-seat passengers from hitting each other in a crash, and Inflatable safety belts are aimed at reducing rear-seat chest injuries.
Airbags contain sensors, including an accelerometer that can detect changes in speed of the vehicle. If there is deceleration above a preset speed and more than normal braking speeds, the airbag circuit is triggered. The circuit sends an electric current through a heating element, causing the ignition of a chemical explosive. This results in a significant amount of innocuous gas to rush into the nylon bag, causing the bag to deploy.
When the vehicle occupant hits the bag, the bag starts to deflate as the gas escapes through holes that are located at the edges of the bag. By the time the vehicle comes to a full stop, the bag should be completely deflated.
Vehicle manufacturers, just like all manufacturers, have a responsibility to design and manufacture products that are not defective. However, for years, there has been a serious issue with defective airbags that has led to deaths, injuries, and multiple recalls of millions of vehicles.
When a victim is injured or killed because of a defective airbag, the original equipment manufacturer can be held liable if a Virginia defective product attorney can prove that the parts were defective or not properly installed. Defective airbags can fail to deploy, or they over inflate, overextend or deploy for no reason, all placing vehicle occupants in danger and at risk of serious injuries or even death.
Let Our Firm Help
A car accident can have long-lasting effects on a victim, both physical and emotional. As a result, these injuries can also have a devastating impact on a victim’s financial health, as well, if they are unable to work while they recover. Seatbelts and airbags are designed to protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash, but if these safety systems are defective, victims can suffer even more harm than the actual crash has caused.
If you have been injured from airbags in a crash, contact a Virginia product liability attorney from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to find out what legal recourse you may have. Our personal injury firm has more than three decades of experience fighting for injured victims and getting them the financial justice they deserve. Call our office today for a free and confidential case evaluation.