It is no surprise that airbags save thousands of lives annually. When used together with a seat belt, the risk of catastrophic injury and death from a car crash is reduced dramatically. Airbags are mandatory safety features in most vehicles, and newer technology has made airbags even more effective. Airbags can prevent drivers and passengers from striking the steering column, dashboard, or windshield and work to spread the force of an impact across the body in the event of a car crash. Side airbags can prevent head and neck trauma, fractures, and injuries to internal organs also. Sometimes, however, manufacturing and design defects and airbag failures cause serious injury and wrongful death instead of protecting vehicle passengers.
Every year, car makers issue warnings and recalls because of airbag defects and component failures. GM, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and other car manufacturers have recently discovered airbag defects and have recalled thousands of vehicles. Unfortunately, many vehicle recalls come too late, after innocent and unknowing victims have lost their lives or been seriously injured. Common injuries caused by airbag defects include severe head trauma, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, blindness, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, broken bones, amputation, and death.
If you were injured due to a defective airbag, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia airbag injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Reiff Law Firm recognizes that it could be difficult to pursue a product liability lawsuit after sustaining a serious injury, and we are committed to fighting for you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential case, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You could also contact the firm online to schedule your free consultation.
Defective Airbag Systems and Accidents
Automatic airbag systems are complex and may fail to function properly, causing serious injury to you or a loved one. Defective airbags and defective airbag sensors can result in an airbag failing to deploy, deploying too early, deploying too late, deploying over-aggressively, or deploying inadvertently when there was no crash. In each of these cases, a driver or passenger would not get the proper protection of the airbag and could end up severely injured.
Defective Airbags and Injuries from Airbags Can Be Caused By:
- Electrical and wiring issues
- Inadequate deployment threshold
- Too few or poor sensor placement
- Failing to reinstall airbags in a vehicle that had previously deployed airbags, software failure
- Failing to use tethers to make sure airbags do not reach too far and slam drivers in the face
- Airbag fabric tearing
- Airbag fabric catching on surrounding equipment upon deployment
- Inadequate consumer warnings or failure to warn of known dangers
- Venting & folding defects (mistakes in the number, location, and size of gas vents and patterns used to fold airbags)
- Airbag failed to deploy properly during a vehicle impact
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other circumstances where a victim could be injured due to a defective airbag. Many of these defects are present in airbags and in many of today’s automobiles and trucks because of cost-cutting measures taken by carmakers, negligent installation, and inadequate testing of real-world crash scenarios. Our skilled and experienced Philadelphia airbag defect lawyers believe that safety should never be an option and always takes priority over shareholders’ bottom line and the manufacturer’s profitability.
Injuries or fatalities can also occur when airbags deploy inadvertently or when they are not supposed to open. Airbags come out of their modules at over 200 mph. A driver can become startled or shocked if an airbag deploys randomly, which could cause a collision or crash. If a crash occurs after an airbag has already been deployed, the driver and passengers are left with no protection from hitting interior components of the vehicle. If a driver is seated too close to the steering wheel or is not properly restrained by a seat belt, serious, life-altering injuries, burns, and death have occurred.
Types of Air Bag Product Liability Claims in Philadelphia, PA
Airbag product liability claims could arise under a variety of circumstances. However, product liability claims typically fall into three categories. Your airbag accident case would fall into one of the following categories depending on the circumstances of your case.
A manufacturing defect is when a product does not represent the manufacturer’s intended design. For example, if every airbag that was manufactured was supposed to contain a safety mechanism, an airbag that does not contain that mechanism would be considered defective. As mentioned, there are other circumstances that could cause an airbag to become defective, such as airbag tearing or electrical issues.
A design defect occurs when a manufacturer creates a product that is dangerous as it was designed. For example, if an airbag manufacturer develops an airbag that has an insufficient number of sensors, it may not deploy when a victim needs it. Design defect claims are based on the idea that the manufacturer should have performed more testing of a product before releasing it to consumers.
Failure to Warn
A failure to warn product liability lawsuit arises when a manufacturer does not place a sufficient warning on an item. If your airbag did not come with a warning regarding the unclear dangers of the product, you may be able to hold a manufacturing company liable for their mistake.
The Reiff Law Firm recognizes the dangers of possessing an item that is defective, and we are here to help you explore your legal options if you are injured by that defective product. To learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit for a defective airbag, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Philadelphia airbag injury attorney as soon as possible.
When to File an Air Bag Injury Lawsuit in Philadelphia, PA
When pursuing an airbag injury lawsuit, a potential plaintiff should know that their lawsuit is subject to the statute of limitations. Every state has a statute of limitations law that places a time limit on how long a potential plaintiff has to file their civil case with a court of law. However, each state does not share uniform filing deadlines, and the deadline could vary depending on the circumstances of the victim’s case.
In Pennsylvania, a product liability lawsuit for a defective airbag must be filed within two years of the injury. Note, however, that Pennsylvania utilizes the discovery rule. The discovery rule allows a plaintiff to delay the filing deadline for their case until the date they discover their injury. For example, if a defective airbag caused you an injury, but you did not experience symptoms of that injury until weeks later, the statute of limitations will begin from that date. Additionally, if the victim was under the age of majority, the statute of limitations will be tolled until their 18th birthday. As a result, the victim will have until their 20th birthday to file their product liability lawsuit.
If a victim does not successfully file their airbag injury lawsuit before the filing deadline closes, they could lose the opportunity to recover damages for their injuries. Specifically, the defendant could move to dismiss the lawsuit because it violates the statute of limitations. If the motion by the defendant is successful, the court will bar the plaintiff’s lawsuit with prejudice, which means that the plaintiff will be permanently barred from filing their case.
Our firm recognizes the severity of filing a product liability lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, and we are here to help you promptly pursue your claim. We ask that you please avoid making any assumptions about the statute of limitations before consulting with an experienced airbag injury attorney that understands the intricacies of your potential lawsuit.
Outside of the strict two-year filing deadline, there are many other reasons to consider filing your airbag injury lawsuit as soon as possible. For example, parties that you need for your case change their contact information or could move to another state or country. You do not want to learn a few months before the deadline that your best witness cannot be located. Additionally, if you wait until the deadline has almost expired before you seek the assistance of an attorney, the attorney could be skeptical of accepting your case so close to the deadline.
Rely on an Experienced and Knowledgeable Philadelphia Air Bag Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member was injured in an airbag accident, you should waste no time to contact an experienced Philadelphia airbag injury lawyer. Catastrophic injuries caused by airbag defects can have a profound effect on you or your loved one’s life. Head and brain injuries and paralysis require life-long care and can cost millions of dollars over a lifetime. Our dedicated Philadelphia auto product liability lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm understand this complex area of the law and have successfully represented numerous clients in airbag defect litigation.
Since 1979, we have set the benchmark for auto product liability cases and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for victims of product defects and their families. We have decades of experience fighting against some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers and have set the bar in product liability litigation. If you or a loved one was catastrophically injured or wrongfully killed from an airbag defect or failure, our team of lawyers, engineers, and tire defect experts will investigate what caused your auto crash and determine who should be held responsible. Consumer protection is our priority, and we will fight to put you on the road to recovery. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your potential lawsuit, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. Our online submission form could also be used to schedule your free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Philadelphia airbag injury attorneys.