defective airbag

You May Be Driving a Time Bomb

Q: How can I tell if my car’s airbag is defective?

When people get into their cars, fasten their seatbelts, and drive off in a responsible manner, they reasonably expect that the vehicle’s safety devices will perform in the manner in which they are intended. Unfortunately, many products fall short and the product’s failure may result in serious injuries that lead to a personal injury lawsuit.

Federal and local laws protect consumers from dangerous and defective products and allow victims to collect compensatory damages for their injuries.

Santa Fe product liability attorneys can help people injured by dangerous or defective products. 

Examples of product liability injuries 

Common injuries that may be grounds for a product liability lawsuit include but are not limited to: 

  • pharmaceutical products
  • medical devices 
  • children’s toys
  • household appliances
  • sporting goods and 
  • defective automobile products. 

In addition to items like tires, car seats, and seatbelts, one of the most persistently defective automobile products in recent years are vehicle airbags. 

The largest automotive recall in history involved defective Takata airbags and impacted over 63 million inflators used in cars produced by nearly every major automaker.

In the Takata airbag cases, the manufacturer used a chemical known as “ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash”. The problem is that over an extended period of years, the ammonium nitrate deteriorates and can become unstable especially in hot, moist or humid climates. The deterioration can cause the metal canister to explode and “hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment” seriously injuring or killing the cabin occupants—even in low impact situations. 

So far, Takata inflators have been blamed for the deaths of 26 people. It is noteworthy that over 11 million of the recalled Takata inflators remain unfixed as current owners are likely unwittingly driving around with increasingly aging and deteriorating inflators. As some of these cars are approaching 20 years old, and likely have changed ownership a few times, notifying current owners about the recall has been problematic. If you want to know if your vehicle has any open recalls, you can check here.

Recently, Volvo has issued an airbag-related recall covering ZF/TRW inflators in its S60 and S80 cars from model years 2001 through 2003. The U.S. recall of approximately 54,000 Volvos was sparked by the reported death of a driver from “metal fragments from an exploding airbag inflator”. While the inflators and chemical used reportedly differed from the Takata recall, the gruesome injuries appear to be similar. 

If the victim’s attorney can establish the injuries were directly caused by the defendant manufacturer’s negligence, the victim may be entitled to monetary damages. Damages differ on a case-by-case basis but often include current and future medical expenses, past and future lost income or diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, the product liability law experts at the Hunt Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our office in Santa Fe, we serve clients throughout New Mexico who suffered serious injuries as a result of the reckless, negligent, or willful conduct of other parties. While we can’t undo your injuries, we can help reduce the financial burden they have caused so you can focus on healing.