We expect airbags to provide an additional layer of safety when auto collisions occur. But that is not always the case. If faulty airbag design led to significant injuries or death for you or a loved one, a local personal injury attorney may be able to help.
Takata Airbag Problems
Many recall the news stories discussing the Takata airbag problems. Ammonium nitrate-based propellants have been used in many Takata airbags. When exposed to intense heat or associated moisture, this propellant may become unstable, particularly if the airbags have aged. This, in turn, can lead to a rupture in the propellant container during even a minor collision. The ultimate result could be bits of shrapnel being thrust into the vehicle’s cabin, with a potential for serious harm to people there.
A History of Tragedy
A number of serious incidents involving these airbags have occurred in recent years. Just a few stories include:
- One teen driver who was involved in a rear-end crash had her carotid artery slashed by a piece of shrapnel that was ejected from the airbag of her Honda Civic, causing her untimely death; and
- When a driver-side airbag inflator was burst during a collision, he was killed.
Airbag disasters have alarmed safety advocates so much that the NHTSA initiated what they called the “largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” 70 million vehicles from 2001-2015 have now been subject to airbag recalls. The recall impacts dozens of manufacturers and models, from Honda and Saturn to Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. At highest jeopardy are Acuras and Hondas manufactured between 2001-2003, as they have a 50 percent risk of experiencing breaches to airbag inflators. Unfortunately, many drivers are completely unaware that they are driving vehicles with dangerous airbags, and they are at serious risk of harm in the event of a collision that leads to deployment of these devices. As a matter of fact, some regulators fear that as many as 85 million of these malfunctioning airbags are in vehicles out on the road, completely unbeknownst by their owners.
Obtaining Safer Airbags
Some consumers who are aware of the issue have taken the steps to replace the faulty airbags in their vehicles, only to discover that it can take months to receive the replacement airbags and have them installed. Because the recall was so huge, manufacturers have had difficulties responding to the demand for replacement bags. Despite other airbag manufacturers taking advantage of the mandate for safer bags by upping production, many customers sill find themselves in an uncomfortable waiting period.
If you or a family member has suffered the consequences of a faulty airbag, whether manufactured by Takata or another company, you may be entitled to damages to assist with injuries incurred as a result of airbag deficiencies. Contact the experienced team at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville for a free consultation today.