Airbags are essential safety devices in virtually every motor vehicle on the road, but these devices can also cause severe injuries. When an accident happens, a signal from the vehicle’s computer identifies the crash and alerts the airbags to deploy. While airbags have saved many lives in serious accidents, they can also cause severe injuries in some circumstances. If you or a loved one suffered injury from an airbag in a vehicle accident, you may have options for legal recourse and recovery.
An airbag cushions the blow from an accident and prevents a vehicle occupant’s head from striking the steering wheel or dashboard from the force of impact. However, airbags are only safe when they function appropriately. Defective airbags may deploy at the wrong time, disperse irritating chemicals into the air inside a vehicle, and even cause severe friction burns due to the force with which they deploy.
If a defective airbag causes injuries, the victim may have grounds for a product liability claim against the manufacturer. The plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit must prove the product in question is defective and the sole cause of the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Products can be defective in three main ways:
In a product liability claim, the plaintiff does not need to prove the defendant was negligent. In some product liability claims, the defendant must prove it was not negligent in the production, design, or marketing of the product in question to avoid liability. However, most state laws hold product manufacturers strictly liable for injuries caused by their defective products regardless of the presence of any negligence. Airbag injuries can indicate manufacturer liability in many ways.
It is possible for a driver or passenger to suffer airbag injuries and include those injuries in his or her lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the accident. For example, a drunk driver hits another vehicle head-on, and the other vehicle’s airbags deploy. The driver’s airbag functions correctly but the driver still suffers severe abrasions to his or her face from the airbag. Since the other driver caused the accident, those injuries qualify as damages in the lawsuit. The at-fault driver would bear liability for the injured driver’s airbag injuries.
When an accident occurs and an airbag malfunctions in any way, an injured driver or passenger would have grounds for a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer or the service provider responsible for servicing the vehicle or failing to properly install a new airbag. When airbag injuries occur during a vehicle accident, the injured driver or passenger should consult with a San Jose car accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the available legal options in California.
An injury attorney can help an injured driver or passenger determine his or her best options for legal recourse following an accident involving airbag injuries. An attorney may suggest focusing on a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or recommend pursuing legal action against the vehicle or airbag manufacturer. Ultimately, airbags are safety devices capable of causing severe injuries, even when they function correctly. Anyone who suffers such injuries should work quickly to secure compensation for the resulting losses.