How are airbags defective?

Airbag deployment malfunctions can occur due to the angle of deployment, the speed of deployment, the completeness of deployment, and/or if the act of deployment does not occur properly during impact. Consumers have long complained about airbag problems, and have suffered injuries as a result of their failure to operate property.

Aggravating the possibility of injury that exists even when an airbag functions properly is the danger of injury when airbags malfunction. There have been numerous reports of deploying at low speeds or even when a vehicle has struck a pothole, resulting in unexpected injury from inflation. The failure of airbag system components, have also been the reported cause of unintended deployment. Malfunctioning components have also been the cause of airbags failing to deploy at all, resulting in passengers suffering the exact harm airbags were intended to protect against.

Since the first airbags were installed in automobiles, experts have cautioned that airbags are supplemental restraint devices, and should only be used in combination with lap/shoulder restraints. Seat belts were necessary to insure their effectiveness because airbags worked only in front-end collisions resulting in impacts in excess of ten (10) miles per hour. Seat belts are necessary to prevent a passenger from injuries that could be caused by side swipes and other crashes (now minimized but the advent of side curtain airbags), rear-end collisions and secondary impacts. Even with second generation devices, the effectiveness of airbags is only maximized when used with a lap/shoulder seat belt system.

There have been reports of some vehicles having airbag deployment as the result of the vehicle’s undercarriage violently striking a low object protruding above the roadway surface. Although there is virtually no front end damage in incidents such as this, high deceleration forces may result from this type of crash, causing the deployment of the air bag.

There is also a delicate threshold a deceleration sensor should be set at. A sensor that is too insensitive may cause an airbag never to deploy on a lower impact crash, resulting in injuries caused by the airbag not protecting the passenger. Conversely, if the deceleration sensor is set too sensitive, deployment may occur with an insignificant impact, such as coming into contact with a speed bump, causing a passenger to be struck by the airbag unexpectedly.

Problems may also exist if the timing an airbag is set to inflate to maximum capacity when the occupant collides with it is improper. If the timing is delayed or expedited, the occupant will collide with either the vehicle interior or the deflated airbag.

Despite all of the innovative ideas to make airbags safer, they still pose a danger in the event they fail to perform in the way manufacturers intended them to, and many vehicles with older technology airbags are still on the road. If you, or a loved one, are injured as the result of an airbag malfunction, you need the help of an experienced and aggressive attorney to insure you receive all the compensation you are entitled to, and all of your rights are protected. The Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners would be honored to help you. Please call us at (407) 888-8000. It is a call you will be glad you made.