It is likely that you drive around feeling safe inside your car due to the airbags which are installed, and while it is true that vehicle airbags have saved numerous lives, there are some instances in which an airbag can cause injuries rather than protecting form them. In other words, the very device that is intended to save lives—and does save lives—can also be responsible for putting drivers at risk. The most recent generation of airbags are more sophisticated than we could have ever imagined. The computer in newer cars takes into consideration the weight of the person sitting in the seat, his or her position in the seat, whether or not a safety belt is being worn and the speed of the impact prior to deploying the airbag.
When Technology Causes Problems
As high-tech and safety-conscious as this sounds, in truth today’s highly sophisticated airbags are not doing as good a job in protecting drivers and passengers as those in older vehicles. In fact, for drivers who are properly wearing their seatbelts, the risk of death was over twenty percent higher in those with the more sophisticated airbags as those in cars with the older style of airbags. For those in cars with newer-style airbags, those who were not wearing a safety belt at the time of a collision actually had less risk of death than those wearing a seat belt. It’s hard to imagine how this could possibly be true.
After all, we have all been told time and time again that if you are not wearing a safety belt, the airbag could actually do more harm than good as your unrestrained body flies toward the airbag at the same time the airbag comes toward the body. When attempting to discover how the results could be valid, researchers determined that the modern airbags are being designed to accommodate those who are not buckled up, therefore deploy with considerably more force than in the past. This force can actually be a danger to those who are securely—and legally—belted in. The NHTSA are not certain of the explanation as to why the fatality rate for belted drivers went up, but states they will continue to study both the effectiveness and safety of airbags.
The Risk of Poorly Designed Airbags
While it is estimated that airbags reduce the risk of death in a frontal car collision by as much as thirty percent, poorly-designed airbags nonetheless pose significant risks for the occupants of the vehicle as they may either deploy too forcefully or fail to deploy at all in the event of a crash. Passengers who are small in stature or children are at a much greater risk of injury when the airbag deploys than a normal-sized adult, and, in fact, poorly-designed airbags have been directly responsible for well over 4,000 deaths.
These deaths occurred when the airbag failed to deploy, or deployed with more force than necessary, killing the person it hit. The passenger airbag deploys in mere milliseconds at a rate of up to 200 mph. Even though the airbag looks like a big soft pillow, this huge explosion of energy can be deadly, especially to the shorter adult or child. The airbag inflates horizontally, flying directly toward the passenger’s head, resulting in serious or fatal brain trauma. Many automakers fail to properly test their airbags on small children, short females and tall males, rather test them only on the “normal” sized adult. Any airbag which deploys too aggressively can result in trauma to the face, head, neck and spine, and in rare instances can even lead to decapitation. Another common airbag defect is from crash sensors which erroneously trigger in low speed collisions—these same sensors can malfunction, preventing the airbags from deploying in a high speed crash.
Getting the Help You Deserve
If you are the victim of a malfunctioning airbag which caused significant injury, you must seek the services of a personal injury attorney who is highly experienced in product liability issues. When a product which is designed to keep you safe actually causes your injuries, you need help in the form of a knowledgeable attorney. You deserve compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and any pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of a faulty airbag, so don’t wait to get the help you need.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, the experienced Denver car accident attorneys at Fuicelli & Lee are ready to help. We know how difficult life can be after a car accident and we work hard to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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