Despite their purported safety advantages, defective airbags can cause more damage when they either deploy too soon or at a time when it is not warranted. An unexpected airbag deployment can cause injuries to the brain, head and neck areas to the occupants of the vehicle, not to mention causing the driver to lose control and creating a hazard to other drivers on the road. A defective airbag can also be categorized as one that does not deploy at all upon impact. Although a seat belt will keep an occupant restrained in their seat, it cannot 100% prevent a collision of the driver to the steering wheel. Contact a personal injury attorney if you or someone you know was injured due to adefective airbag.
As problems have emerged in recent years, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has become a regulatory agency which monitors airbag systems and any problems or defects associated with their use. Further, the NHTSA sets forth mandates and guidelines to prevent defective airbags from being currently installed in vehicles as well as instituting retroactive recalls to address any defects or safety issues that may not have been apparent at the time of installation. According to the NHTSA, more that 1.4 million recalls of defective airbags were put into effect into 2004.
As with every product a consumer purchases, the customer has a right to expect that a product is safe and free from hazard when the product is properly utilized. Ultimately, it is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that their product is safe to use for its intended purposes. If a consumer is injured during reasonable and customary use of a product, the manufacturer is liable for any injuries and/or damages resulting from the failure of its product.
Manufactures of vehicles containing airbags have a duty and a responsibility to their customers to install air bag systems that will work properly and effectively in the event of an accident. Further, these same manufacturers have an obligation to address and correct any de facto issues or defects by issuing recalls to replace the defective components of the airbag system. Not only is the manufacturer of the air bag system itself liable for the safety of its product, the manufacturer of the vehicle itself may also be subject to liability. If you believe that you have sustained injuries as a result of a defective airbag, contacting a competent personal injury attorney is your first step in determining if you have a cause of action against the manufacturer.