Are You Entitled to Compensation for Your Injuries? Find Out from an Airbag Injury Lawyer
While airbags are supposed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident, sometimes they do more harm than good. Airbag injuries happen more often than they should—both during accidents and when airbags deploy unexpectedly. If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured by an airbag, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and you should discuss your legal rights with an airbag injury lawyer promptly.
Our firm represents individuals and families in cases involving all types of common airbag injuries. We have decades of experience taking on automobile manufacturers and winning. Every case starts with a free, no-obligation consultation; and, if you have an airbag injury claim, you pay nothing unless we help you recover the monetary damages and compensation your deserve.
Common Airbag Injuries
We handle cases involving all types of airbag injuries. This includes common airbag injuries such as:
Airbag Injuries to the Face
Airbag injuries to the face can result from metal and plastic fragments created by airbag explosions as well as from the high-speed deployment of the airbag itself. Facial lacerations and punctures requiring stitches and surgery, nose injuries, jaw injuries, and neck injuries are all common. Facial burns are common airbag injuries as well.
Airbag Eye Injury & Blindness
Airbag eye injuries and blindness are also very real concerns when airbags deploy (or explode) into a driver’s or passenger’s face. Airbags can cause ocular and corneal injuries that can cause partial blindness and other visual impairments, and they can even cause total blindness in some cases.
Airbag Head & Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
One of the main things airbags are supposed to do is protect drivers and passengers from head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Yet, concussions and other airbag-related head injuries are alarmingly common. Why is this the case? There are several factors, all of which may entitle victims to just compensation.
Airbag Injuries to the Arms
The forces generated by an airbag’s deployment can cause severe trauma to the arms—from the shoulder down to the wrist. Bone fractures are not uncommon, and airbag deployments and explosions can cause cuts, punctures, burns and other types of injuries as well. Airbag injuries to the arms will entitle drivers and passengers to just compensation in many cases as well.
Airbag Injuries to the Chest
Some of the most common airbag injuries to the chest include rib fractures, sternum fractures and collapsed lungs. However, airbags can cause a variety of other types of chest injuries as well—and these injuries can range in severity from relatively minor to life-threatening in some cases. Anyone who is experiencing chest pain after an accident in which their airbag deployed should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Airbag Dangers to Passengers with Feet on the Dashboard
While riding with your feet on the dashboard is a great way to stretch out and relax on a long trip, it presents risks in the event of airbag deployment. Airbag dangers to passengers with feet on the dashboard include broken hips, other broken bones, severe soft tissue damage and paralysis. Just like drivers, any passenger who suffers airbag-related injuries should speak with an airbag injury lawyer about their legal rights.
Airbag Shrapnel / Metal Fragment Injuries
When an airbag deploys or explodes, especially the defective airbags, the excessive power can send shrapnel flying throughout the vehicle’s cabin. Shrapnel is made up of tiny, sharp, and usually rough pieces of metal, plastic or other materials that get shot outwards when there’s an explosion or something hits hard. These include metal fragments from the airbag’s internals as well as plastic shards from the steering wheel, dashboard and interior panels. Airbag shrapnel / metal fragment injuries can be extremely serious, and they will often leave drivers and passengers with permanent scars, cuts, punctures and even death.
Airbag Deployment Injuries
While airbag explosions present heightened risks for drivers and passengers, even “normal” airbag deployments can be extremely dangerous. We represent drivers and passengers who have suffered all types of airbag deployment injuries; and, if you have any questions about your legal rights, we encourage you to contact us to speak with an airbag injury lawyer.
Tragically, airbag injuries can be fatal in some cases. If you have lost a loved one due to an airbag’s deployment or explosion, we offer our sincere condolences, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your family’s next step. We handle cases involving airbag deaths nationwide, and we can use our experience to fight for justice on your family’s behalf.
Understanding the Lifetime Costs of Airbag Injuries and Deaths
When deciding whether to contact an airbag injury lawyer, it is important to have a clear understanding of the long-term consequences of your injuries or your loved one’s death. Serious and fatal injuries can be incredibly expensive, and they can impact victims’ and family members’ lives in other ways as well.
By hiring a lawyer to file a claim, you can seek just compensation for all of the costs—both financial and non-financial—of your injuries or your loved one’s death. These costs may include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium, companionship, society and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Other out-of-pocket costs (including funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death cases)
How much can you expect to recover? The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and you will need an experienced airbag injury lawyer to assess your (or your family’s) legal rights in light of the specific long-term costs of your (or your loved one’s) accident.
Burns are another serious risk associated with airbag deployment. During deployment, airbags can cause chemical burns and friction burns, both of which can have painful consequences and lead to significant medical bills and other financial losses.
Drivers and passengers can suffer chemical burns if they come into contact with the chemicals that are inside of an airbag inflator. While this generally shouldn’t happen, defects can cause airbag inflators to explode and expel the chemicals inside.
Friction burns can result from direct contact with the airbag itself. While friction burns can be less preventable, they will still be reflective of airbag defects in some cases. For example, if an airbag deploys more rapidly than it should (i.e., due to an airbag inflator explosion), this can significantly increase the risk of serious friction burns.
How Serious Are Airbag Burns?
Airbag burns can be very serious in some cases. While some accident victims will be able to fully recover with wound care and other basic forms of treatment, others may need to undergo skin grafts or other surgical procedures. Burns caused by dangerous and defective airbags can also leave victims with permanent scars, and some victims will have to deal with chronic pain for the rest of their lives.
If you have suffered burns due to airbag deployment, taking care of your medical needs should be your first priority. But, you should also speak with an airbag injury lawyer as soon as possible. Due to the financial and non-financial costs you may be facing, filing a claim could be extremely important, and speaking with a lawyer is the first step toward recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Can You Sue for Airbag Burns?
Individuals who suffer airbag burns can sue in many cases. Simply put, you shouldn’t suffer serious airbag burns during a collision. If you have suffered serious airbag burns, this most likely means that something went wrong with your vehicle’s airbag system.
Airbag manufacturers and automotive manufacturers can be held liable for selling dangerous and defective airbags. So, regardless of who was at fault in your collision, if your burns are the result of an airbag system failure or airbag defect, you may be entitled to financial compensation. An experienced airbag injury lawyer can determine if you have grounds to sue; and, if you do, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf at no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Airbag Injuries Can Have Serious Consequences
All types of airbag injuries can have serious consequences. Not only can treatment be incredibly expensive, but your other bills can also start to add up if you are unable to work during your recovery. Then, there are the non-financial consequences of your airbag injuries. Pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, emotional trauma, and loss of consortium and companionship can all take a significant toll on your daily life. Fortunately, these are all losses that you may be able to recover with the help of an experienced airbag injury lawyer.
Legal Implications for Automotive Manufacturers
What are your legal rights when you suffer an airbag injury—and when should you hire an airbag attorney? To answer this question, we need to look at the legal implications for automotive manufacturers of selling dangerous and defective airbags.
Many airbag injuries result from airbag defects. When an airbag (or any other product) is defective, special legal rules apply.
Specifically, selling defective airbags makes automotive manufacturers “strictly liable” for any injuries that their defective airbags cause. When strict liability applies, a manufacturer can be held legally accountable without proof of negligence. It isn’t necessary to show that the manufacturer made a mistake—or even that it knew the defect existed. If an airbag is defective, this single fact alone is enough to establish a claim for just compensation.
Strict liability laws exist specifically to protect consumers. When you buy a car, you have no way of knowing whether the airbags (or any other components) are defective. You just have to trust that the manufacturer has done enough to put a safe vehicle on dealership floors. Given that this is the case, courts across the country hold manufacturers to a higher standard of liability.
So, what if an airbag is dangerous, but the issue that makes it dangerous doesn’t rise to the level of a “defect”? An airbag doesn’t have to be defective to be dangerous (although many dangerous airbags are defective). In this scenario, you may still have a claim based on negligence, a breach of warranty, or another legal theory. An experienced airbag attorney will be able to assess your legal rights and determine what theory (or theories) he or she can use to file a claim on your behalf.
Technological Advancements in Airbag Safety
In terms of the history of the automobile, airbags are still relatively new. While the first airbag was invented in the 1950s, airbags did not become standard equipment for passenger vehicles in the United States until the late 1990s—and frontal airbags only became mandatory in 1999. Even to this day, side airbags aren’t legally required, although most manufacturers use side airbags to meet the federal side-impact safety requirements.
As you might expect, airbag technology has come a long way over the past 70-plus years. For example, the first airbags didn’t have crash sensors—which made them effectively useless. At the time, automotive manufacturers weren’t interested in investing in the technology, so development stalled for several years. It wasn’t until 1968 that the first crash sensors were invented, and it wasn’t until three years later that Ford first began experimenting with putting airbags in its vehicles.
Today, all new vehicles sold in the United States at least have frontal airbags, and most have additional airbags throughout the cabin. It isn’t uncommon for new vehicles to have 10 airbags (or more) that provide front and side impact protection for both front seat and back seat occupants. Today’s airbag sensors can detect crashes virtually immediately, and modern inflators can fill airbags in less than 1/20th of a second—or about the speed of the blink of an eye.
Even so, airbag technology is still far from perfect; and, while airbags save lives, they also present risks. Crash sensors fail, airbags explode instead of inflating properly, and in some cases airbags simply fail to deploy. As a result, airbag injuries remain a significant concern; and, for drivers and passengers who suffer these injuries, hiring an experienced airbag attorney is a critical step on the road to recovery.
FAQs: Hiring an Airbag Attorney to Represent You
Can You Sue a Car Company for an Airbag Failure?
It is possible to sue a car company for an airbag failure. Even though car companies typically buy their airbags from third-party manufacturers (such as Takata), car companies are ultimately responsible for the safety of their vehicles. So, if an airbag fails, the car company can be held responsible regardless of whether the airbag came from its manufacturing facility or another company’s facility.
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, many airbag manufacturers are located in other countries, and this can make suing them more challenging. Second, widespread airbag failures can push these companies into bankruptcy (as happened with Takata), and this can also limit accident victims’ ability to sue them for just compensation.
Can I File an Injury Claim if My Airbags Didn’t Deploy?
If you were seriouslyinjured in a car, truck or SUV accident when your airbags failed to deploy, an airbag attorney may be able to help you file a claim. The key question will be: Should your airbags have deployed; and, if so, why didn’t they deploy during the crash?
Does Insurance Cover Airbag Replacement?
Auto insurance typically covers airbag replacement, as long as the vehicle isn’t deemed a total loss. But, before you seek to have your insurance company cover your airbag replacement, you should speak with an airbag attorney about the other options you may have available. For example, if your airbag was defective (or improperly deployed for other reasons) and you or others were seriously injured, then, you may have a claim against your vehicle’s manufacturer—and, if you do, you may be entitled to much more than just the cost of replacing your vehicle’s airbags.
Request a Free Consultation with an Airbag Injury Lawyer
Airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years. If you need to know more about your legal rights, we invite you to get in touch. To request a free consultation with Mr. Willis, give us a call or tell us how we can reach you online today.