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The Most Common Airbag Malfunctions Leading to Injuries: Are You at Risk?

AirBagModern vehicles now come standardly equipped with numerous safety features, of which airbags are among the most prevalent and oldest. Their widespread use occurs as a result of their proven life-saving capabilities. Airbags have saved thousands of lives since their introduction in the 1980s. These nylon bags inflate from a hidden compartment, such as a steering wheel or dashboard, when sensors within the front end of the vehicle identify an impact equal to hitting a brick wall at 10 to 15 miles per hour. The bag inflates within a fraction of a second, protecting the driver and passengers from forceful impacts with potentially hazardous surfaces within the interior of the vehicle. Unfortunately, even airbags malfunction, and when they do, the resulting injuries are often disastrous. Let us explore some of the most commonly reported faults.

Overly Forceful Deployment

During impact, airbags inflate quickly due to a reaction of Sodium Azide (NaN₃) and potassium nitrate (KNO₃). These two materials produce a hot nitrogen gas which forcefully expands the bag. If the proportions of these compounds are overfilled or are otherwise miscalculated, the airbag may inflate with an exorbitant amount of force, causing unnecessary injury to the person with whom it makes an impact. Injuries include fractures to the face or neck, whiplash, bruising, concussions, and even traumatic brain injury.

Accidental Inflation

If sensors are overly sensitive, a bump or a sharp stop may trigger unnecessary airbag deployment. Occasionally, an airbag spontaneously inflates with zero warning and entirely at random. These incidents create dangerous conditions where a driver is unable to maneuver the vehicle to safety resulting in catastrophic injuries to all vehicles involved. To make matters worse, as soon as an airbag deploys, it immediately begins deflating. Thus, this makes it less useful if the accident occurs after the initial inflation.

Rupturing Inflator Mechanisms

Recently, several auto manufacturers and millions of vehicles were announced as a part of a massive recall. Airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation had reports of airbags shooting shards of metal into vehicle occupants during deployment.

Contact an Attorney

Injuries stemming from malfunctioning airbags tend to create long-lasting adverse effects. Anyone suffering from defective airbag injuries should consider retaining the counsel of a San Jose, CA auto defect injury attorney. These cases can become complicated and highly litigious. Therefore, having a proven and well-respected attorney can give you an advantage in the courtroom. Contact Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today at (408) 289-1417 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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