Researchers and engineers are continuously working on improving the safety of our vehicles to minimize the occurrences of accidents, injuries, and deaths. Next to the seatbelt, one of the most important safety restraints installed in vehicles is the airbag.
Unfortunately, in some circumstances airbags deploy improperly or not at all. When this occurs, our Milwaukee airbag injury lawyers are prepared to help you hold the negligent party accountable for such an egregious error.
How Airbags Work
While rudimentary airbags were developed in the 1950s, the airbags we see in vehicles today are designed with consideration for accident and passenger types. Most airbag systems have the ability to detect the presence of weight and seat position, which means the airbags can activate, deactivate, or de-power depending on who’s in the vehicle. Because of these considerations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2,756 lives were saved by frontal airbags in 2016.
Vehicles can be equipped with front and side airbags. When an airbag works effectively, its crash sensors communicate with the onboard computer to determine the proper time for deployment. Frontal airbags reduce the chance that a person’s head or upper body will make contact with the car’s interior. Side airbags protect the driver and passengers from the colliding object – whether it’s another vehicle, a tree, or a pole. An airbag can inflate in 1/20th of a second and begins to deflate as soon as it deploys.
When an airbag fails to work the way it’s designed to, the possibility of injury and death can increase significantly.
Defective Airbags and Related Injuries
Airbags deploy at extremely high speeds – typically greater than 100 miles per hour. If an airbag deploys unexpectedly, the victim can suffer from serious, life-changing injuries. Young children can be particularly vulnerable to faulty airbags because of their smaller size. This is especially true if the child is seated in the front of the vehicle and is seated closer to the dashboard than necessary.
An airbag failing to deploy can be equally as tragic in the event of a collision. Victims risk making impact with the interior of the vehicle and sustaining significant injuries, or worse. Unfortunately, most airbag faults can be difficult to discern without the defect actually happening.
When an airbag deploys incorrectly or not at all, the following injuries are commonly sustained:
- Upper Body Injuries. Facial trauma, eye injuries, and spinal cord injuries are common when a person makes impact with a part of the vehicle, instead of the airbag. Because of their size, it’s important to remember that children are at risk for serious head injuries in the event the airbag is defective.
- Torso Injuries. Injuries in the chest and abdomen are likely if the airbag deploys at the wrong time. Someone could suffer from rib fractures, abdominal injuries, heart conditions, and more.
- Broken Bones. When a car accident victim makes contact with the steering wheel or when an object strikes them without the protection of an airbag, fractures are likely. Upper body fractures, like in the shoulders, arms, and clavicle, are common.
Takata Airbag Recalls in Wisconsin
Tens of millions of vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled. Long-term exposure to heat and high humidity can cause the airbags to explode when deployed. This can lead to serious injury or death. As a responsible vehicle owner, it’s imperative to find out if your vehicle has been recalled, so you can get the issue repaired as quickly as possible.
It’s likely that if your vehicle has been recalled, you’ve received notice from your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you are still concerned, you can use the NTSHA’s Recalls Look-up Tool to determine the status of your vehicle. You will need your vehicle’s identification number. For a complete list of vehicles needing repairs, NTSHA has a comprehensive annex, including which vehicles are considered a priority.
Seeking Legal Representation From a Milwaukee Airbag Injury Lawyer
At Urban & Taylor, our injury attorneys understand how traumatic it can be to be in an auto collision. While you should focus on recovering from the accident and the injuries it inflicted, it’s likely your insurance company will want to handle your claim as quickly as possible. It’s important to seek legal representation from an experienced Milwaukee car accident lawyer so you can receive all the compensation you’re entitled to.
Our wrongful death lawyers can also assist you with your claim if you lost a loved one because of another party’s negligence. For more information on your rights and legal options, contact us today.