In April of 2013, Japanese airbag supplier Takata announced a recall due to an issue with their inflators. Since the initial announcement, which only covered six car manufacturers, it has come to light that over a dozen manufacturers’ models are affected and several million vehicles’ airbags have been recalled.
Why has such a massive recall been necessary? The inflators on Takata’s airbags have been proven to be unsafe, and many of them will not simply deploy the airbag but will shoot shrapnel toward the vehicle’s passenger at a high rate of speed. This recall follows a significant rise in air bag injury cases brought against automobile manufacturers and Takata.
However, shrapnel injuries due to malfunctioning Takata inflators are not the only injuries associated with the use of airbags. Other common air bag injuries include but are not limited to:
- Abrasions and/or contusions of the face, chest, shoulders, and arms
- Burns to the face and/or chest
- Rib cage and/or skull fractures
- Lacerated veins and/or arteries
- Concussion, swelling, and/or bruising of the brain
- Injury to heart muscle
- Trauma to ears, including loss of hearing
- Internal bleeding
- Strain or fracture of the cervical spine
- Trauma, injury, or death of a pregnant woman’s fetus
- Trauma or injury to wrists and/or hands
- Trauma or injury to the eyes (including ruptured globe, corneal abrasion, and/or retinal tearing)
Airbags are intended to save lives and prevent injuries, but – as demonstrated in the above list – in many cases they can actually be the cause of many serious injuries and traumas. An air bag injury can lead to temporary or permanent disability, for which the victim should be compensated if those injuries occurred through no fault of their own.
Preventing Air Bag Injuries
With the knowledge that airbags can cause serious injuries and/or trauma, it’s advisable for drivers and passengers to take all possible measures to avoid air bag injuries. These measures include but are not limited to:
- Properly wearing a seatbelt at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
- Putting children under the age of 12 in the back seat.
- Adjusting the front seats of the vehicle to be no less than ten inches away from the airbags’ deployment areas.
- Never placing a rear-facing baby seat in the front seat of a car with airbags.
Pursuing an Air Bag Injury Case
As with all personal injury cases, air bag injury cases fall under tort law. This means that as the victim you must prove negligence on the part of the airbag manufacturer to receive compensation. By taking all necessary precautions to remain safe in case of an accident (and subsequent airbag deployment), you will ensure that you have taken all necessary steps to avoid injury or trauma. The next step, then, is to seek immediate medical attention and to call a qualified personal injury attorney with experience in air bag injury cases.
To gain compensation, you must prove that your injuries were sustained due to a malfunction in the airbag, itself, not due to the accident that caused the airbag to inflate. If your airbag was subject to the Takata recall, your car’s manufacturer and/or Takata may fight you for compensation, citing that the recall has been made public knowledge. However, if you were not aware of the recall at the time of the accident, you should not be held responsible for the damages incurred by your malfunctioning airbag.
If you believe that you have suffered injuries or trauma due to a malfunctioning airbag, don’t hesitate to contact us at Bandas Law Firm today for a free consultation. You can get in touch with us by using our online contact form or by calling our office at 855-427-3332.