According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, since the advent of the airbag, nearly 300 people have died due to airbag injury and airbag related malfunctions. Older cars are more “risky” when it comes to airbag injuries and deaths. And an analysis out of Oregon Health and Science University, which reviewed motor vehicle injury statistics from a recent ten year period, found that airbags can actually increase the risk of serious injury for particularly short or tall passengers in the front seat. That study, which was presented in 2007 to the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, looked at 10 different factors and concluded that, while airbags did provide modest protection for medium height front seat passengers, “airbags increased the risk of injury for large and small statute adults.”
Surprising Variety of Airbag Malfunctions and Mishaps
Both passengers and drivers can be injured in myriad ways due to airbag malfunctions. Here are just a few:
- Airbag fails to inflate during crash. For instance, a delivery truck sideswipes your SUV, and your side curtain airbag fails to deploy. As a result, you suffer a concussion.
- Airbag inflates when it shouldn’t. For instance, say you are driving down the freeway in your family sedan, and you go over a tiny bump in the pavement, which sets off your airbag. A too sensitive release mechanism might to be blame. The consequence could be dire: you could careen off the road, hit another car, or simply injure yourself trying to control the vehicle.
- Airbag goes off as expected, but causes more harm than good. For instance, say you are driving your minivan in a storm, and you get blown into a ditch. Your side curtain airbags inflate, delivering excessive force to children riders in your backseat.
Exploring Your Options to Get Compensated for Airbag Related Injuries
In the wake of an automobile accident, victims often look to other parties to collect compensation for medical bills, surgical costs, rehab and therapy, wages lost at work, pain and suffering, and perhaps punitive damages. Typical possible defendants might include: the driver or drivers who hit you or caused your accident; your insurance company or the insurance company of another driver; your automobile’s manufacturer, designer or mechanic; or the municipality that failed to take good care of the roads. In a Kentucky auto product liability case, the designer, engineer, or even installer of the airbag could also be on the line for damages.
For a free and confidential case evaluation, connect with Thomas Law Offices. Mr. Thomas served as the Acting Executive Director of the Office of Civil & Environmental Law for the Kentucky Attorney General as well as the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, and his actions on behalf of accident victims have helped them recover millions of dollars. Call (502) 473-6540 for a free consultation.