New Airbags May Not Provide the Best Protection

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Airbags May Not Provide the Best Protection

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Airbags, like other modern vehicle safety devices, are implemented in nearly every car manufactured today, but they don’t always deploy the way they should. Even with newer developments in technology, airbags often don’t deploy at exactly the right time, which is necessary in order for them to work most effectively.

Defective airbags fall under the responsibility of their manufacturers. As a result, many of them have faced lawsuits. Car accident attorneys help victims of injuries caused by defective airbags, helping them receive compensation from the manufacturers as well as the parties responsible for accidents.

Causes of Airbag Failure

People might be more likely to believe that airbags are safer because of new developments, but there are still many seemingly simple causes of airbag failure that have caused car companies to issue recalls. Toyota is one company that has had to recall its vehicles because it was found that spider webs could potentially cause airbag failure. Specifically, spider webs reportedly obstructed air-conditioning tubing, which caused water to drip on airbag control units. In turn, the water could cause short-circuiting that causes airbags to deploy when not needed. Airbag defects such as these are potentially useful in accident cases, with help from car accident lawyers.

One lawsuit in 2007 involved a plaintiff who suffered severe neck injuries when her airbag deployed improperly in a car accident. The airbag in her 2004 Lexus ES 330 didn’t fully inflate, which caused the victim to either hit her head on the steering wheel, or caused her head to forcefully snap back. As a result of her injuries, the victim had to undergo physical rehabilitation in order to walk again. A jury found Toyota liable, but the company will most likely appeal the $6.5 million settlement awarded to the plaintiff.

Filing Lawsuits with Car Companies

Instead of making airbags safer, newer changes in airbags have actually been found by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to make vehicles more dangerous to an extent.

In the July 2013 report “How Have Changes in Front Airbag Designs Affected Frontal Crash Death Rates? An Update”, certified as advanced and compliant (CAC) airbags were found to be responsible for slightly higher nonsignificant frontal crash death rates for vehicle occupants, as opposed to advanced sled-certified airbags. CAC airbags were also associated with an increase in the deaths of drivers wearing seatbelts. The report also detailed that while frontal airbags saved the lives of 28,000 people as of January 1, 2009, they were also associated with 296 deaths that were otherwise preventable.

If you believe a failed airbag has caused serious injuries or wrongful death, you can contact a car accident lawyer to help ensure that you and your loved ones recover compensation, and also help prevent car companies from implementing inadequate safety measures in the future.


Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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