| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident

Since the late 1990s, airbags have been a fairly standard feature in most newly manufactured vehicles. Unfortunately, just like any other part of a vehicle, airbags always have the potential to be defective. Due to the fact that airbags are such an important safety feature in vehicles, when they do not work properly, the injuries they cause are catastrophic.
The aftermath of any car crash is chaotic and this is particularly true when injuries are caused or worsened by a defective airbag. The most common injuries associated with airbags are neck, back, and spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and vision loss. If you or someone you love has been hurt, it is important to speak to an Atlanta product liability lawyer that can provide the sound legal advice you need.

Common Defects Associated with Airbags

Just like with any product that is out on the market, airbags can contain defects that cause harm to occupants inside a vehicle. Two of the most common defects associated with airbags are premature deployment and a failure to deploy.
Premature deployment occurs when an airbag deploys when the safety feature is actually not necessary. Most airbags are programmed to deploy when the sensors within a vehicle detect that the vehicle was in an accident. Not all accidents require an airbag, though. Airbags should usually only deploy when the sensors detect that the vehicle has crashed into a solid barrier while traveling at a speed between 8 and 14 miles per hour. These types of accidents are considered moderate to severe and usually require the deployment of an airbag.
When an airbag deploys prematurely, it can cause very serious injuries. Airbags by their very design have the potential to cause injury. A premature deployment can cause these injuries and when one deploys prematurely, those injuries may be unnecessary.
The other common problem with airbags occurs when they do not deploy at all. This can result in some of the most serious injuries. Again, airbags are meant to deploy when a vehicle crashes into a solid object while it is traveling at a high speed. They are meant to provide a cushion between the hard surfaces within a vehicle and the occupants’ bodies. When they fail to deploy, they cannot provide this protection and so, people often sustain even worse injuries than if the airbag had deployed prematurely.

What to Do if You Have Been Hurt by an Airbag

There are many steps you should take if you have been injured by an airbag that deployed prematurely or that did not deploy at all. The most important of these are as follows:

  • Seek medical attention: It is crucial that after any car crash, you seek medical attention for your injuries. Your health and well-being are the top priority after an accident and seeking medical treatment will ensure your injuries do not become worse. Also, the medical records obtained after medical treatment will provide valuable evidence that will help prove your claim.
  • Collect evidence: Also just like after any type of car accident, evidence is crucial when trying to prove your case. The most important pieces of evidence in cases involving airbag injuries are the actual airbag and your vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled and considered a write-off, the insurance company may want to seize it. Do not let them do this. Much of the evidence you need for your case is in the vehicle and if someone takes it, you will lose that evidence. Do not let anyone repair your vehicle for the same reason.
  • Speak to an Atlanta product liability lawyer: You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and a lawyer can help you recover the full damages you deserve. A lawyer will accurately value your claim, collect the important evidence you need, including your medical documentation, and help you obtain the full settlement you are entitled to.

Determining Liability After an Airbag Injury

When consumers are hurt by defective products, including airbags that prematurely deploy or that do not deploy at all, they can file a legal claim against the manufacturer to collect damages. In cases that involve defective airbags, the person sued may either be the manufacturer of the vehicle or the manufacturer of the airbag. There are several instances in which either of these manufacturers can be held liable for airbag injuries. These include when:

  • The airbag did not deploy vertically but instead, horizontally
  • The inflators within the airbag were more powerful than the normal standards require
  • The manufacturer did not perform the number of test crashes required
  • The crash sensors did not operate properly

Under the product liability laws in Georgia, injured individuals are not required to prove the manufacturer was negligent, as they are in other personal injury cases. Instead, accident victims must only show that the airbag was defective and that they sustained injuries as a result. When these elements of the case are proven, accident victims can claim damages to help with their injuries. This is known as strict liability and under these laws, it does not matter if the manufacturer knew the product was defective or not. Injured individuals can still claim damages.

The Statute of Limitations on Product Liability Claims in Georgia

Like all personal injury claims in Georgia, those involving product liabilities are governed by a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time you have to file your claim. For your personal injuries, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you need to recover compensation for your losses, such as a vehicle that is a write-off after an accident, you have four years to file your claim. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you will likely forfeit your right to claim any damages at all.

Call Our Product Liability Lawyer in Atlanta After an Airbag Injury

If you have been hurt by a defective airbag, our Atlanta product liability lawyer at MG Law can provide the sound legal advice you need and help you claim the full settlement you deserve. Call us today at 404-982-4219 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with our skilled attorney.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury, and he stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.