Attorneys for Seat Belt & Airbag Defect
No one can deny that seat belts and airbags have had a major role to play in promoting the safety of individuals in a car accident. In fact, it would be fair to say these have been two of the greatest advancements made in car safety technology. However, defective seat belts and airbags have also contributed greatly to accidents. If you believe you have grounds for a product liability claim, an auto product liability lawyer at Arnold & Itkin LLP can help. Our law firm is dedicated to preserving the rights of the injured. We help those injured by defective products take a stand against the biggest manufacturing companies and insurers in the U.S., seeking the compensation they deserve through negotiation or litigation.
If an airbag or seat belt was improperly designed or had a manufacturing defect that caused it to malfunction, one of our attorneys can review the matter to determine how to hold the manufacturer legally responsible. It is true that these cases can present highly technical issues related to compliance with safety standards and the design of the seat belt or airbag, but we work with experts in these fields to build strong cases for our clients. Find out how we can help with your case by calling for a confidential, free consultation. You pay no legal fees unless we win your case.
Defective Seat Belts
The absence of seat belts (also known as safety belts) has been traced to a large number of deaths that occur in car accidents. However, time and again, passengers and drivers who have relied on the sturdiness of their seat belts have found themselves injured when these very same seat belts that were meant to protect them have been ripped, torn, or unlatched during an accident. When a seat belt is designed properly and functions well, it is probably the most important safety component in your car. However, thousands of cars with defective seat belts continue to be introduced on American roads every year, and these offer little or no protection even during a moderate accident.
Types of Seat Belt Defects
- A defective seatbelt buckle may become unlatched during an accident when the latched plate slips out of the buckle. This is called inertial unlatching, and the auto industry denies that something like this can ever happen with their seat belts. However, it does happen, and such unlatching has caused injuries in thousands of crashes where seat belts unlatched during impact.
- Sometimes, a defective seat belt may look and even feel like it has been latched properly when it is not. This is called false latching, and it can be just as dangerous as inertial unlatching because even a small amount of force is enough to release a latch plate. When this happens, the person is thrown out of his or her seat restraint. The result is a collision against the windshield or even ejection from the vehicle.
- Failure of the seat belt retractor to lock can result in a shoulder belt that fits loosely around the passenger. During an accident, the impact can throw the passenger forward just enough to slam against the windshield.
- Seat belt webbing is required to be strong enough to resist the impact of an accident without collapsing. Sometimes, defective webbing can rip apart during an accident. There is no other explanation for this, but manufacturing or material defects that result in a weak seat belt.
Most airbags are located inside the steering wheel or dashboard panel and are connected to a crash sensor. The sensor sends a signal to deploy the airbag when the vehicle is in a collision. The purpose of the airbag is to protect passengers; however, defective airbags can cause additional and even life-threatening injuries. Because airbags deploy with such massive force, estimated at over 100 miles per hour, the risk of injury is always present. The danger is especially great when an airbag deploys incorrectly. When an airbag malfunctions, it is caused by a malfunctioning crash sensor that (a) does not deploy the airbag, (b) deploys the airbag at the wrong time, or (c) deploys one airbag but not another.
Types of Airbag Defects
- The airbag failed to deploy.
- The airbag deployed at the wrong time.
- The airbags came without tethers.
Airbag defects have caused spinal injuries, fractured necks, head and brain injuries, facial injuries, and eye injuries in motorists. When an airbag deploys when an accident has not occurred, it may cause a driver to lose control.
Involving an Auto Product Liability Attorney for Airbag & Seat Belt Injuries
If you have been injured in a collision in which the airbag malfunctioned, you could bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the airbag. Depending on the facts of the case, there may be several other parties that a claim could be brought against as well. The vehicle’s manufacturer or any party that was responsible for maintenance, inspection or replacement of the airbag could potentially share in liability. To bring a product liability claim for a defective airbag, it will be important that you preserve the evidence (i.e., the airbag). After an accident, it may be difficult to recover the airbag immediately, but even if you cannot retrieve the airbag, taking pictures of the defective product will help.
If you have been injured by a defective airbag, you should consult with an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible. Once you have hired an attorney, an investigation team can be sent to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. At Arnold & Itkin, we offer free initial consultations to inform you about your legal rights. Contact our product liability attorneys today to learn how we can help you.