Making the decision to consult with a lawyer about an injury can be daunting if you have never worked with one before. The basic process for obtaining legal help is similar to the process of finding other professionals, such as a doctor or teacher. You want to find a lawyer who is highly qualified and who has successfully handled cases that deal with the same issue. In the situation where someone has been injured or killed due to an exploding airbag, they or their survivors will be best served by working with an attorney who is familiar with the issues of defective airbags.
Timing is also important; hiring a lawyer should be done as soon as possible after the injury incident, because there may be statutes of limitations that apply. If you miss the time deadline for filing or joining a legal action, it may be too late to seek compensation for your claims. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you about time limitations and also if there are any defective airbag recall lawsuits you may be eligible to join.
Exploding Airbags & Recalls
The problem of injuries and deaths occurring due to exploding airbags and malfunctions of the airbag system was first publicized around 2008. The majority of airbag failures have occurred with one manufacturer’s products, the airbag system made by a Japanese company, Takata. Some airbags have exploded prematurely, without sensation of an impact. This has caused accidents not only from the airbag and its contents, but also from accidents that then happened because the driver could not adequately control the vehicle after the airbag inflated or exploded.
Recalls of Takata airbags began in 2008, although it was later discovered that the company knew about these problems but hid that information from the public and regulators. In January 2017, Takata pleaded guilty to corporate criminal charges and three of their executives were indicted. The fine was colossal, $1 billion, of which $125 million will go to victims, and about $850 million to vehicle manufacturers for repairs, and an additional amount to the federal government. Now, with expansion of recalls, about 70 million vehicles have been issued airbag recalls. Worldwide, accidental injuries due to airbag failure total about 180, and deaths around 16. Recalls offer a solution, generally replacement for free at your dealer. The dealers then seek repayment for free repairs from the vehicle manufacturers.
Defective Airbags – Injuries
When an airbag is defective, several types of injuries may result, including death. The worst injuries from airbags were caused by malfunctions of the ignitor or inflator devices. What happens in this case is that the chemicals created such an explosive force that it not only inflated the airbag, it caused the inflator mechanism to fracture and send forth tiny sharp metal fragments through the airbag material, into the vehicle interior. People have been cut almost instantly by these ejected pieces, and several persons died from their lacerations caused by this shrapnel.
Other injuries include bruising, chemical burns, damage to skeletal bones, facial and skin lacerations and other harm caused by the force of the explosion or release of chemicals into the air when the airbag is punctured by metal shards. If the tiny vent pores do not operate to quickly release interior bag contents, the airbag may cause injury because it is too firm. Secondary injuries or death have occurred when the vehicle crashed into another vehicle, road hazards or other objects near the traffic lane because the driver was injured by a premature explosion of the airbag, or the airbag interfered with their driving ability.
Legal Actions – Airbag Failures
Thousands of victims have filed individual lawsuits and there are many additional class action lawsuits ongoing in the United States. The primary claim under Personal Injury Law is for negligent behavior. That claim is easier to prove today, since Takata has admitted their wrongdoing officially. They knew about the problems, and chose to not publicize the issue. Once the news media began to publicize airbag failures, more people began to seek legal advice and consultation about their injury cases. Since the problem is widespread, class action lawsuits also were created. In some states, there is a higher potential for airbag failures due to high temperatures and high humidity levels that affect the explosive chemicals within the airbag system.
Hiring a Defective Airbag Lawyer
When you hire a Personal Injury Attorney to represent your interests via the legal system to obtain fair compensation for injuries or death due to negligence, you need to locate one who is familiar with this problem and who has successfully won similar cases. You can ask questions about these concerns, and seek recommendations from others or the state or local Bar Associations.
Questions to be answered by your choice of lawyer include:
- How many similar cases have they handled/won?
- What legal options are available to you?
- Are there any Class Action Lawsuits you may be eligible to join?
- What information, medical evidence or evidence is needed?
- How are fees assessed, and what are you responsible for paying? (Many cases like this are handled on a contingency basis, with no fees charged, other than small office fees, until and unless your case is won.)
- Are there time limits?
- How long will the case take to complete?
- Will you work directly with this attorney or others in the law firm?
IF you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident due to airbag failure to deploy or malfunction, or if a death resulted from airbag failure, the time to hire a lawyer to represent your best interests is immediately. Do not hesitate to inquire about this solution that can help you recover financially from losses associated with the injury accident. You may be able to claim work loss, medical care, personal claims such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship, and other claims. You deserve fair compensation for harm due to negligent behavior. There may be multiple parties to include in a lawsuit; your attorney will provide advice to you about this and other issues related to your case. Call now to get started.