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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

Nationally Recognized in Legal Community

Airbags are meant to save lives, but defective airbags can cause severe injuries and death in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than one million cars in the United States were recalled for faulty airbag systems between 2015-2020.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for drivers and passengers suffering harmful or catastrophic airbag injury or wrongful death through defective airbags. Our legal team fights aggressively on behalf of our clients to ensure they receive maximum compensation for their damages while seeking justice against those who caused them harm.

Contact our Chicago product liability attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options. All confidential or sensitive information you share with your defective airbag attorneys remains private through an attorney-client privilege.

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Defective Airbags Failing to Deploy in Auto Crashes

Airbags are designed to deploy in any collision at speeds exceeding 15 MPH, and vehicles are equipped with crash sensors determining when such a collision occurs, sending a signal to the airbags and causing them to inflate within a twentieth of a second.

Defective crash sensors occasionally contribute to airbags failing to deploy, resulting in severe trauma to the victim’s head or face colliding with the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield during the accident.

Improper Deployment of Airbags Resulting In Serious Injuries

Defective airbags can easily cause harm when deployed at the wrong time or when deployed improperly.

Common defects with improper air bag deployment include:

  • The airbag deploys when no accident has occurred, injuring vehicle occupants or causing a crash
  • The airbag inflator ruptures (common Takata airbag recall problems) [1]
  • “Over deployment” is when the airbag inflates too much or too quickly
  • Low-speed airbag deployment during a crash
  • Lack of deployment due to sensor placement
  • A lack of an effective airbag system
  • Airbags do not inflate fully, failing to protect the passenger properly
  • Improper tethering or position can cause the airbag to strike the occupant at an unsafe angle or position

Defect-Related Airbag Non-Deployment

According to the NHTSA [2], frontal airbags have saved an estimated 50,457 lives from 1987-2017 and can be the difference between brain damage or fatal injuries and minor airbag injuries.

A defective passenger presence sensing device or malfunctioning crash detection system can cause catastrophic results when a passenger is involved in a high-speed collision, and the airbag fails to deploy.

If the seatbelt crash detection system is turned off on the passenger side, the airbag will never deploy, leading to catastrophic results.

Airbag Deployment With Defective Parts

Vehicle airbags are designed to protect you in a collision by inflating with great force, but defective parts or incomplete construction can cause them to fail or do so improperly.

Airbag defects are dangerous because the parts don’t deploy when they should, deploy too forcefully, deploy inappropriately, or don’t inflate at all, whether at high or low-speed crashes.

When an airbag isn’t the only source of serious injuries in a crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other costs. That can include wage loss, pain, and suffering, or damage to your car or truck.

Improper inflation will injure occupants and cause collateral damage such as ruptured fuel lines and possible ignition of the airbag. An airbag working effectively may also leave shards of metal in the car, causing additional severe injuries to those involved.

The risk is even greater if passengers become trapped by deploying airbags and aren’t adequately protected by their seat belts in car crashes.

Manufacturer’s Failure to Recall Defective Airbag Systems

In recent years, Takata airbag manufacturers have been blamed for more than 100 severe injuries and 14 deaths because of their inability to comply with product recalls due to Takata airbag defects.

Auto manufacturers need to protect drivers against defective airbags. However, the stakes are too high if an airbag fails or injures someone not involved in the collision.

The recalls started in 2016 and have been done in phases as a new airbag inflator has replaced defective units. Some estimates reveal that approximately 100 million Takata airbags replacement inflators will likely be installed over the next few years.

Takata’s problem is that their product contains a desiccant (drying agent) that prevents degrading the ammonium nitrate propellant used to deploy the airbag upon impact. However, researchers show that approximately three million defective airbags were recalled due to their association with a defect.

How to Identify Defective Airbags

Potential defendants in a product liability lawsuit could include the vehicle manufacturer, the airbag maker, the third party at fault for causing severe harm to drivers and passengers, and others through an airbag defect by a malfunctioning part.

Malfunctioning airbags will often fail to deploy, explode with minimal impact, or deploy at the wrong time. Sometimes, the airbag deploys after too much force or unexpectedly during a low-speed vehicle crash.

Therefore, any defective flaw or airbag malfunction with a ‘failure to deploy’ action upon impact could be caused by a poor design or manufacturing airbag defect.

Known Airbag Defects: Selling a Car With Faulty Airbags

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) [3], selling a vehicle with faulty airbags is a severe violation.

Therefore, the agency mandates that all vehicles with defective air bags be fixed before an individual or business can sell them as used vehicles.

Recent Defective Airbag Recalls

Takata airbag inflators are part of the world’s largest airbag inflator recalls. It involves defective Takata airbags that have injured and killed multiple individuals with flying metal shrapnel.

Primary defective airbag recalls include:

  • Air bags made by Takata
  • Takata air bag inflators
  • Infinity SUV airbag [4]
  • Honda/Toyota airbags
  • Honda/Mazda/Nissan airbags

In all, a wide range of motor vehicles has been involved in defective airbag recalls by major auto manufacturers, apart from the abovementioned, such as Acura, BMW, Dodge, Chrysler, Ford, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Pontiac, Subaru, General Motors and Saab.

General Motors recalls millions of its cars and trucks due to the defective ignition switch and airbag problems. Their airbag defect addresses a malfunctioning ignition switch that prevents airbags from deploying when necessary.

All drivers and passengers seriously injured due to an airbag defect auto accident have legal rights.

Our defective airbag attorneys offer every potential client a free consultation. In addition, our law firm can represent motorists who suffered traumatic brain injuries from the vehicle’s airbags, seat belts, or other malfunctioning components in a traffic collision.

How to Report A Defective Airbag

According to NHTSA [5], any person or driver who has experienced non-fatal airbag injuries or other damages when an airbag is deployed improperly should file an official complaint with the agency.

Motorists can mail their written complaints using form HS-7 within 30 days after the car’s purchase date or file a complaint online through the agency’s website.

In addition to filing a defective airbag complaint, other victims could also consider taking legal action against the airbag manufacturer. Contact our experienced product liability attorneys who handle cases involving any defective product and preventable airbag injuries from a car crash.

Defective Airbag Attorney Available for People Injured When Airbags Fail to Deploy in Accidents

Did you suffer an airbag injury, or a loved one suffered a wrongful death in an auto accident where the airbags did not deploy? If so, you need an experienced attorney who understands complex cases and looks after your interests.

The experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are qualified to determine the actual cause of your crash and whether defective materials or equipment may have contributed.

A free case review with your defective airbag attorney at our law firm is free of charge and completely confidential— our defective airbag lawyers will never charge you for our services unless we can collect on your behalf.

Call our product liability attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation for immediate legal help with our law firm.

Resources: [1] NHTSA, [2] NHTSA, [3] NHTSA, [4] Consumer Reports, [5] NHTSA

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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