The airbag in your vehicle is supposed to protect your head and neck in the event that you are involved in a car accident. However, if your airbag is defective, it could fail to work when you are in a crash or suddenly inflate with no warning whatsoever. In either scenario, you could suffer serious injuries that may permanently alter your life. A Houston airbag defect attorney with The Doan Law Firm can fight for your rights to recovery for your injuries.
Houston Airbag Defect Resources
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The airbag is one of the most important safety features in your vehicle. Therefore, the manufacturer of the airbag as well as the automaker that uses that airbag needs to be sure that it will work as intended in every car it is put in. If not, it is on either or both of those parties to agree to a recall.
However, a recall is not a given as the party that calls for the recall doesn’t want to admit that it created a dangerous product. In addition to the money that the recall would cost, the embarrassment a brand could suffer could cost it sales both now and in the future. The good news for you is that your attorney will look into whether there is a public safety issue that should be acknowledged after your airbag defect incident.
What Conditions Can Result in a Defective Airbag?
Various conditions can result in a defective airbag. Individuals are likely more familiar with the Takata airbag recalls that have gone on for quite some time. This issue was driven by long-term exposure to high heat and humidity that causes the airbags to explode when deployed. This was a pure manufacturing defect that has affected billions of dollars worth of merchandise, led to significant injuries, and even caused death.
Generally, some of the main issues that can lead to defective airbags include:
Depleted airbag backup battery. If the battery of the vehicle dies, then the backup battery that powers the airbags may also die. This can fix itself after the battery is fully charged once more.
Damaged airbag clock spring. There is an airbag clock spring that maintains continuity between the airbag and the electrical wiring of the vehicle. This clock sprain coils in and out as you turn the steering wheel and can deteriorate over time, leading to a weak connection and potential airbag failure.
Faulty sensors. There are various sensors related to the correct deployment of the airbag. These sensors go directly into the vehicle’s computer system, and they can fail or be tripped on accident. This could lead the airbag warning light to come on, indicating that the sensors need to be inspected and the system restored.
Wet airbag module. Anytime a vehicle sustains significant water damage, usually from flooding, this could affect the airbag module under the driver or passenger seats.
Common Injuries Caused by Defective Airbags
That may be various reasons why an airbag becomes defective, as we mentioned above. However, many individuals have sustained injuries as a result of defective airbags. We only need to look at the Consumer Reports data surrounding the Takata airbag recalls to see that there were horrific cases of injuries, including metal shards penetrating a person’s neck and face.
Some of the most common types of injuries associated with defective airbags include the following:
Severe bruising or contusions
Broken or fractured bones
Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
Major burn injuries
Trauma to a fetus if a woman is pregnant
Though not common, airbag injuries can also lead to fatalities. This is certainly not a complete list of the types of injuries that can occur as a result of a defective airbag. If you think you have a viable claim against another party due to a defective airbag injury, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Our team offers free consultations, and we can help direct you toward the best path of recovering compensation.
Your Attorney Will Help Show That the Airbag Wasn’t Altered
Some drivers like to alter their vehicles to better suit their needs. This may include altering the airbag or removing it completely in favor of a TV screen or some other item that makes the car more fun to drive. There is a possibility that the other side in your case will argue that you altered or removed the airbag and that is why it failed.
Your personal injury attorney in Houston will take steps to make sure that you can prove that you did nothing to your airbag that caused it to fail. It may also be possible to prove that another party altered or removed the airbag without your permission, which would shift the liability from yourself to the party that took that action without your knowledge or permission.
Airbag Defect Cases Can be Complex
Defective airbag cases can be incredibly complicated, even though they may seem straightforward. Actually proving that the airbag was defective and that the defect caused the injuries is difficult, particularly when the defendant (the alleged negligent party) will almost certainly have their own legal team defending them against these claims.
Some of the reasons why these claims end up becoming complicated include the following:
An airbag manufacturer denies wrongdoing
Different companies involved in the manufacturing process blame each other for the defect
Airbag manufacturers or auto manufacturers hire attorneys specifically to deny these legitimate claims
The airbag manufacturer or auto manufacturer’s insurance carrier denies the claim
The reality is that injury victims need to be ready to face significant backlash from airbag or vehicle manufacturers when they make a claim. That is the natural order of how these cases work. These are high-stakes cases, often dealing with billions of dollars worth of merchandise that is already out on the market and could end up being recalled. Large corporations will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out compensation or admitting wrongdoing.
That is why we always suggest that airbag injury victims seek assistance from an attorney with extensive experience handling complex claims throughout Texas and throughout the US. At The Doan Law Firm, we know what it takes to help clients secure compensation for these types of claims.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by a Defective Airbag?
There may be various parties that could be held responsible for a defective airbag, and an investigation will help uncover which parties should be examined closely. Often, the airbag manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer will be held responsible. If the airbag is defective, then the manufacturer of that airbag will likely be responsible. However, if the airbag failed to deploy properly, then the vehicle manufacturer may be at fault for failing to install it properly.
Further complicating these claims is the fact that there may be dozens of other companies involved in the parts that went into a defective airbag or the installation process. Any of these parts could be defective, which would ultimately lead to liability falling onto the specific part manufacturer.
Get Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries
There are many different types of compensation that you may be entitled to after you are hurt because of an airbag defect. For instance, you may be entitled to reimbursement for any and all medical bills that you incur now or in the future. This may include the cost of being seen by a doctor, the cost of surgery and the cost of any medication that you need to take at any point in the future because of your injuries.
It may also be possible to get compensation for any lost wages or lost future earnings because of your injuries. Lost wages are typically available retroactive to the date that you first missed work after your accident. Lost future earnings are based on the fact that you can’t return to the same line of work that you were in prior to getting hurt.
Lost future earnings will take into account the type of work that you were doing prior to your injuries. However, it may be possible to take into account any degrees or certifications that you had that may have allowed you to find higher paying work in the future. This may work in your favor if you were currently a barista but were looking for a job in the IT field and had the qualifications to reasonably find one.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
It doesn’t matter how strong your airbag defect case is if you don’t file a lawsuit in a timely manner. Your Houston airbag defect lawyer will make sure that you take legal action within two years of the accident assuming that is what you want to do. In some cases, you may be able to reach a settlement without having to set foot in a courtroom. However, the threat of filing a lawsuit may provide the party that hurt you with the motivation necessary to settle in a timely manner.
Steps to Follow After an Airbag Deployment
If you have been the victim of a suspected defective airbag deployment, we encourage you to follow these steps as soon as possible:
Seek medical care. Any victim of high defective airbag injury must seek medical care immediately. There may be delayed signs and symptoms of these injuries, but seeking prompt medical care helps ensure a victim’s well-being, and it establishes a solid link between the airbag deployment and any injuries.
Keep any evidence. It may be possible to gather some evidence after the airbag deployment occurs, including photographs of the airbag, video surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses, etc. Additional types of evidence may be gathered in the days and weeks that follow, but your attorney can direct this investigation.
Contact an attorney. It is crucial to work with a skilled defective airbag attorney in Texas who can examine every aspect of your case. They will conduct the investigation and handle communication with other parties.
Stay away from social media. Even if you are convinced that your injuries were caused by defective airbag employment, you need to keep this to yourself. Stay away from social media. Anything you put online will be seen by the defendant and their legal team, and they could use this against you when it comes time to go to court.
Speak to a Houston Airbag Defect Attorney Today
If you have been hurt, it is in your best interest to talk with a Houston car accident attorney today. Your consultation is free, and we will answer any and all of your questions in a timely and professional manner. You can meet us in person at The Doan Law Firm 1 Riverway, Suite 2500 Houston, Texas 77056 to talk more about your case. You can also message us online or give us a call at (800) 349-0000 for a free review of your case or to learn more about how we can help.