For the last twenty years, airbags have been standard equipment in automobiles. Intended to work as a supplemental restraint in conjunction with seatbelts, they can be an important safety feature in the case of even a severe automobile accident. Given the amount of traffic on San Antonio roadways, airbags are a welcome protection against crashes.
The origins of airbags reach back as early as 1941 and were first tested by Ford in the 1970s. While they began to protect a driver from frontal impacts, airbags can now be found throughout today’s vehicles both in the front and side panels. They were designated as standard equipment beginning in 1998, with passenger cars, and have been standard in SUVs, trucks, and vans since 1999. Today, many new passenger vehicles now offer side airbags as either standard or optional.
Airbags can significantly decrease the chance of a driver or passenger sustaining injury as a result of impact with a car’s interior surface. Of course, you should always wear your seatbelt to provide maximum protection against injury. But even given the protective nature of vehicle airbags, there have still been instances of injury and even death as the result of airbags. If you or a loved one has been injured by a vehicle airbag in San Antonio or surrounding areas, contact Carabin & Shaw today. Our skilled attorneys are ready to assist you.
Sometimes, an airbag inflates with such force as to cause injury to drivers or passengers in close proximity. This was especially the case in early versions of airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports almost 300 deaths were the result of the deployment of a frontal airbag during an auto accident. Most of these deaths started happening in the late 1990s and also involve some level of improper restraint. As a result of these occurrences, the NHTSA is performing an investigation into dangerous airbags that may deploy with too much force, causing metal fragments to kill or injure vehicle occupants. The vehicle safety watchdog called for an urgent response by carmakers, given flawed airbags have been potentially linked to four deaths.
Some of the more common injuries from dangerous airbags include abrasions to the face and upper body, burns, concussions, fractures of the hands and arms, rupture of the heart, ear trauma, eye injury, internal bleeding, and irritation of the skin. Each of these conditions is a direct result of the deployment of an airbag and in many cases involved some fault of its design.
Toyota this month made its fourth global recall involving more than a million vehicles this year, operating with stricter supervision of safety from U.S. regulators. The carmaker is calling back 1.75 million vehicles, including 759,000 Toyota and Lexus sedans to repair fuel pipes that could leak and raise fire risks.
Honda has said it’s examining whether a faulty airbag was to blame for the death last year of a man who crashed his Acura sedan in a California parking lot. The automaker has acknowledged two previous deaths from dangerous airbags, which can deploy with excessive force in some conditions.
There are safety precautions you can take to minimize the risk of injury from dangerous airbags:
- Place children in the back seat in a child car seat best suited for their age and weight
- Take advantage of any free clinics offered by local safety and law enforcement organizations
- Be sure all adults are wearing a seatbelt
- Be sure all passengers are a minimum of ten inches away from where a frontal airbag is located
- Keep adjustable steering wheels tilted as far down as possible
- Keep your thumbs positioned on top of the outside rim of your steering wheel
- If you have been injured by an airbag in San Antonio or a surrounding area, contact the attorneys at Carabin & Shaw immediately
If you’ve been injured as the result of a faulty airbag, you may be entitled to compensation. You need the help of a San Antonio airbag injury attorney. Even though there may be a current airbag recall , there are still vehicles on the road that may be equipped with dangerous airbags. It’s important to have an attorney with the experience and knowledge to help you recover what you are owed.
In San Antonio, the dedicated and experienced attorneys of Carabin & Shaw are ready to meet with you and discuss your case. Consultations are free, so call us today at 1.800.862.1260.