Air Bag Defects

While calmly proceeding into an intersection, a car to your right suddenly appears to have run the red light and crashes into the passenger side of your car. The air bag installed in the passenger door fails to deploy, and now your friend or relative may be permanently injured. You both are left to wonder why the air bag failed to work.

Air bags have been acknowledged as a significant safety device since they became mandatory on all vehicles in 1998. Statistics indicate that air bags reduce the risk of death in a direct frontal accident by 30 percent.

Air bags work on sensors that detect a collision at a certain rate of speed, which triggers the bag’s inflation system. The system expels nitrogen gas and rapidly inflates the device. The entire operation happens in about one-twenty-fifth of a second.

Serious defects in air bag design and manufacture have led to serious injuries and fatalities. If you suspect a defective air bag led to injuries, it is important to consult with an experienced auto defect attorney.

Defective Design

A poorly designed air bag can: fail to deploy, deploy too late, or inflate too aggressively leading to serious injuries or death. Sensors and air bag components are also designed to account for several factors:

  • The sensor should adjust the speed at which the air bag deploys based on the seat’s position to avoid having the occupant contact the air bag too soon or too late.
  • Sensors should also adjust for the occupant’s weight and position in the vehicle. However, someone holding a heavy object could adversely affect how the air bag deploys.
  • The shape and design of an air bag can affect how it is inflated. Designers and manufacturers must adhere to general standards from the NHTSA, but specific designs are not mandated and are up to whatever the manufacturer chooses to use.
  • The numbers and type of sensors used in a vehicle can affect its performance.
  • An air bag may not have been designed to deploy under certain conditions. For instance, certain decelerations may not be quick enough to trigger deployment. Side impacts and rollovers also may not lead to air bag inflation, despite the promises of the salesperson, manufacturer or designer.
  • Inadequate warnings about the limits of the particular air bag, such as not deploying in side impacts, may render the designer liable for any resulting injuries.
  • A faulty sensor or release mechanism may cause an air bag to deploy without warning without an accident occurring.

Defective Manufacture

Air bags may not be installed properly. If the passive restraint system is not correctly folded, it may not deploy or may explode too suddenly or aggressively, or at a certain angle that causes an unexpected injury. Failure to properly construct or to fill an air bag is another example of a potential manufacturing defect.

Injuries from Airbag Defects

Air bag failure can lead to traumatic injuries that require the skill and competence of an experienced defective product lawyer. The following is a partial list of devastating injuries that defective air bags can cause:

  • Arm and leg fractures
  • Brain injuries
  • Internal organ trauma
  • Loss of sight
  • Chest injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputation of fingers
  • Hearing loss
  • Death

Air bag defect cases involve complex issues of law and liability. Only an experienced attorney with the resources, skill and knowledge of these types of cases can assure you that all claims are pursued and all avenues of compensation are explored. These cases often involve complex legal issues that should be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident from a defective air bag, we want to hear your story.


Contact the Law Offices of Stephen S. Weinstein, P.C.
for your free personal consultation today.

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