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How Can Airbags Injure When They Are Supposed to Save Lives?

Anyone who has access to the news is aware of the massive recall of vehicles due to defective Takata airbags. A report issued by the NY Times, in December of last year, indicated that 11 deaths and 184 injuries had occurred in just the US from exploding airbags that propelled shrapnel into the chests of vehicle occupants. Over 92 million vehicles from multiple auto makers were recalled.

When considering those figures, it seems like a very small percentage of deaths and injuries compared to the number of installed airbags, but even one death is too many. In addition, there are many other airbag related injuries that occur each year that are unrelated to the spontaneous explosions. The supplemental restraint systems (SRS), installed in motor vehicles for the safety of drivers and passengers, in many cases can be the cause of severe injuries for several reasons. Despite being uncommon, airbag injuries are often severe and may include neck and spine injuries, traumatic brain injuries and internal injuries.

Why Would an Airbag Deploy Incorrectly?

Most airbag injuries, that occur when a seatbelt is in use, are due to incorrect deployment of the airbag. These are mostly caused by a malfunction in the crash sensor. A crash sensor triggers the deployment of the airbag when a signal of impact is received. There are several things that can go wrong with a crash sensor:

· Deployment at the wrong time, when normal driving is occurring and there has been no impact. The crash sensor had a defect sensing a false signal

· Deployment in a low impact crash leading to death or injury, The crash sensor may be defective.

· Failure to deploy after impact. The crash sensor may not have received the signal of impact or the airbag was defective.

· Deployment a microsecond too late, causing the drivers face to be too close to the rapidly inflating bag, causing serious injury. This could be caused by a defective sensor or a defective airbag mechanism.

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent injuries from airbags.

· Make sure that everyone wears their seatbelts, including passengers in the rear seat. Failure to wear a seat belt is the leading cause of death by an airbag in a crash. The body will propel forward at the speed of the car prior to impact and strike the airbag deploying in the opposite direction. The force is great enough to break a neck, shatter ribs and cause the brain to slam against the inside of the skull.

· Never allow a child under 12 to ride in the front seat of the car

· Use proper child seats

· Be sure your seatbelt is at least 10 inches from the point where the airbag will deploy

· Obey the speed limit

· Pregnant women beyond seven months should refrain from driving due to the close proximity of the airbag and steering column.

If You Are Injured by an Airbag

I you received serious injuries in from an airbag, be sure to keep the airbag with the car. Do not allow the insurance company to take the car away as totaled or allow a technician to remove the airbag or wipe clean the onboard computer. Without the actual parts from the airbag there is little evidence that the device was directly connected to your injuries. Do not give any statement to an insurance investigator. Anything you say can be used against your case.

There have been many cases where the airbag did not deploy correctly due to a defective crash sensor and the manufacturer was held legally accountable. If you have been injured by a defective airbag it is important to seek the counsel of a product liability attorney with experience in airbag technology. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one, a wrongful death claim may be filed.

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