Although safety technology in motor vehicles is relatively new, it may not take long before you take it for granted. You fasten your seatbelt instinctively and never give a thought to your anti-lock brakes. You may not even consider turn signals, headlights and door locks to be safety features. They are just part of the car.
However, when a safety feature fails, causing injury or worse, it suddenly gains your attention, and never in a good way. Lately, airbags have been especially susceptible to failure, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Texas drivers and passengers who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones due to the failure of their airbags deserve answers to their many valid questions.
What went wrong?
One drawback to taking safety systems for granted is that you may not fully understand how they work to protect you. Airbags, for example, inflate instantaneously upon impact through a chemical reaction in which a controlled explosion fills the bag with a harmless gas. The bag then quickly deflates to prevent your head from being violently thrown back against the seat. When it works, an airbag can prevent serious injuries that would result if your head and chest smashed into the steering wheel or windshield.
Unfortunately, if there is a defect in any area of the airbag's ignition system, things could go horribly wrong, including any of these disasters:
- Failing to deploy in a dangerous collision.
- Inflating too soon or too late to prevent injury in a crash.
- Deploying with excessive force
- Deploying for no reason
In addition to failing to protect you from injuries the crash may cause, the airbag may cause its own injuries, resulting in any of the following:
- Head and facial trauma
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Chest injuries
- Burns and chemical injuries
In cases of airbag explosions, victims have suffered penetrating injuries from shards of metal within the ignition mechanism.
Who is responsible?
If your airbag inflated at the wrong time, failed to inflate or exploded, you likely suffered additional, perhaps devastating, injuries on top of the injuries from your accident. This may mean more medical treatments and perhaps permanent disability or disfigurement. You may have lost a loved one when an airbag did not do its job.
While you may be considering the benefits of a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the driver who was responsible for your accident, you may also have reason to explore the options of a claim against the manufacturer of the airbag whose defect resulted in your pain and suffering.