Among the most important traits of a personal injury lawyer is the determination to consider all aspects of an accident — whether or not these factors are immediately apparent causes of injuries or a fatality. At the Reiff Law Firm, our diligence in identifying and substantiating dangerous vehicle safety shortcomings has been instrumental in many large monetary recoveries for our clients.
Car accident cases are often more complicated than most injured victims believe. For many individuals, their initial focus is on another driver. While our office will pursue a personal injury case against a negligent driver, the list of potentially liable parties does not end there. If your car’s safety devices, including its airbags, failed to function as intended, the manufacturer, distributor, or mechanic who installed the airbag could share a percentage of fault.
Whether an airbag in your vehicle failed to deploy, went off too late, deployed in an over-aggressive and violent fashion, or deployed but serious injuries still occurred, you can turn to us for a thorough, honest investigation and assessment of your case and legal options. We offer a free initial consultation and, if we take on your case, you will pay no attorney fees or costs unless you win monetary compensation. Our New Jersey airbag injury attorneys can be reached at (215) 709-6940.
Defect Airbags and Product Liability Claims in New Jersey
Injury claims based on defective airbags are considered product liability claims. When a product is defective, either in its manufacture or design, an injured victim could be compensated for any injuries the product causes. However, one of the most important aspects in an injury claim involving a defective product is determining who is responsible.
For example, depending on the circumstances surrounding the defect, the manufacturer could be held liable. In contrast, the distributor or individual who installed the airbag could be responsible for any damages if the facts are different.
The type of defect could also impact your claim. There could be a design defect in the airbag. In this case, the airbag is inherently unsafe. Design defects are typically throughout an entire line of products. If an airbag was recalled and a dealership failed to comply with the recall, it could be held liable for your injuries.
In some cases, the defect is the result of a manufacturing error. When this occurs, the flaw might exist in only a few products out of an entire manufacturing run of airbags. Because the error occurred during the manufacturing or assembly process, it might not have been widespread enough to warrant a recall. Our New Jersey product liability lawyers will often turn to engineering experts to thoroughly examine an airbag to determine if a dangerous flaw existed and contributed to your injury.
Types of Airbag Defects That Cause Injuries in New Jersey
There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate the safety benefits of airbags. Few people would argue that they should not be required in new vehicles. However, if an airbag is defective, it could cause an injury. Additionally, if an airbag is installed improperly, it will not provide the intended benefit. There are a number of airbag defects that could result in injury or even death. Below, our New Jersey personal injury lawyers look at some of the common defects found in airbags.
Failing to Deploy
Airbags are designed to deploy when a vehicle is struck with a significant amount of force. One of the most common problems found in airbags is that they fail to deploy. A passenger or driver could suffer more substantial injuries without the added protection the airbag was supposed to provide.
There have been several recalls of airbags because of a faulty canister. A defective canister could send pieces of sharp shrapnel into a vehicle when the airbag deploys. This flying debris could cause additional injuries to passengers inside of a vehicle.
Airbags are designed to deploy when a vehicle is struck with an adequate amount of force. However, some airbags are overly sensitive and seem to deploy without cause. If a driver is suddenly surprised by an unexpectedly deployed airbag, an accident is likely to occur – especially if the airbag blocks the driver’s vision.
Improper Installation or Replacement
Most airbags are installed at the time the vehicle is manufactured. If the airbag is improperly installed, it might not function as intended when an accident occurs. Another problem occurs when a third party replaces or repairs an airbag. Some repair shops use poorly recycled or faulty airbags when replacing one that previously deployed.
Serious New Jersey Injury Lawyers Equipped to Take on Powerful Manufacturers
Since becoming standard equipment on passenger cars and trucks in the early 1990s, airbags have undoubtedly saved many lives. In other situations, however, a design problem, manufacturing defect or maintenance issue with an airbag may justify legal action for negligence and product liability.
Our attorneys are prepared to investigate your vehicle accident thoroughly and call on relevant experts to determine whether any type of auto defect was a factor. We will evaluate claims and possibilities involving:
- An airbag’s failure to deploy upon impact or delayed deployment, resulting in exposure to the types of catastrophic injury they are designed to protect against
- Sudden and unnecessary or excessively violent airbag deployment, causing a wrongful death or injuries ranging from severe whiplash to a broken neck, head and brain injuries or spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis
We have successfully handled cases involving airbag sensor failure and other defects resulting in severe “bag slap” injuries. In multiple cases, eye and vision loss were among the consequences, and we have been able to win sizable recoveries for our clients.
Recovering Damages For Defective Airbag Injuries in New Jersey
If you have been injured because of a defective airbag, you might wonder what type of compensation you are entitled to and who is responsible for compensating you for your damages. If a product is defective, an injured victim could generally hold the manufacturer, distributor, or seller responsible for any injuries that the airbag caused. In some cases, a third party could be held liable if they improperly installed the airbag.
Car manufacturers have a legal responsibility to design and manufacture vehicles that will reasonably protect passengers from harm. Dealerships have an obligation to ensure that the cars they are selling are safe and free from defects. When a car is repaired, including replacing an airbag, a mechanic has a duty to use proper parts and follow safety protocols. When companies or individuals fail to comply with these responsibilities, they could be held accountable for any damages an accident victim suffers.
In New Jersey, car accident and defect airbag victims are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. The damages available depends on the extent of your injuries.
Economic damages represent your out-of-pocket losses. These are your financial losses, including medical expenses, home healthcare, modifications to your house, and lost income. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys collect receipts, bills, and statements to calculate your financial damages. In some cases, especially if you are out of work for a significant amount of time or will never be able to return, a financial expert will be retained to determine how much money you would have earned.
Your non-economic damages represent intangible harm such as emotional distress, mental anguish, physical pain, and depression. The level of emotional trauma an individual experiences typically corresponds with the severity of the accident and injuries. However, no two accident victims are the same, so you may respond very differently from another person with similar injuries. Therefore, our lawyers will work closely with you, your healthcare providers, and your friends and family to help determine your non-economic damages.
Call Us Today to Consult With Our Proven New Jersey Auto Defects Attorneys
Our New Jersey airbag injury lawyers are proud members of a prestigious and recognized organization of a small group of highly qualified and experienced airbag defect attorneys and experts from across the nation who meet regularly throughout the year and are in contact on a daily basis to examine, investigate and litigate auto defect litigation — including cases arising from airbag injuries — and so we are aware of known problems, product recalls, OSI’s (other similar instances) and other issues relevant to your case. After a car accident, you can depend on our legal team for diligence in research and investigation — and for the pursuit of your valid claim against an insurer, auto manufacturer, or another party responsible for negligence. To discuss your legal rights and options, call our law office at (215) 709-6940.