Airbag Defects

Airbag Defect Attorneys

Most cars on the road these days have airbags. The public has come to rely on airbags for comprehensive safety.

Automobile manufacturers sell cars based on representations that their cars will be safe for occupants and their families. Starting in 1998, new passenger cars were required to have driver and passenger airbags and safety belts. Light trucks were required to comply with the same laws in 1999.

If airbags function properly, they can save lives. However, when airbags do not function as expected, serious harm can result. The introduction of defective products provides a false sense of security among consumers who rely on the devices for safety, and worse, can result in serious injuries and death.

Defects in airbags exist when they either deploy with too much force in minor collisions, or fail to deploy when they are needed. Airbag defects can include defects in the crash sensors, defects in warnings regarding the operation of the airbags, defects in installation, defects in deployment algorithms, as well as a number of other defects. In some cases, airbags are replaced incorrectly, and there have even been instances of counterfeit airbags.

But even with airbags, contrary to popular belief, air bags will not always "go off" in a collision. In some situations, they are actually designed so they will not go off - for instance, if an underweight child is detected in the seat where it would do harm.

Whether an airbag should or should not deploy varies depending on the collision physics and the types of airbags in play. Today, there are not only frontal airbags for drivers and passengers, but also airbags for side-impact collisions, and rollover collisions. Specific airbags are designed to go off for specific types of damage.

Defective Airbag Lawyers

In any airbag case, accident reconstruction is important because it is necessary to consider factors such as speed, acceleration changes, and what can be called "jerk" - or change in acceleration.

The airbags also rely on computer programs and algorithms to measure data collected from sensors and accelerometers in deciding whether to deploy. This software is usually contained in an airbag control module ("ACM"), or what is commonly called the "black box."

Following a crash where airbag defects are suspected, it is highly important to attempt to preserve the vehicle so that the black box can be studied. The black box data can indicate whether a deploy signal was given, or not, and that can change the dynamics of a case. It can also give information about speed changes, whether brakes or throttles were used, and whether the seat belt tensioners were engaged. For this reason, preserving the black box can often be a first order of business in an airbag case.

Airbag defect cases are complicated and can be expert intensive. Airbags are also overlooked in a vehicle injury case. If you have an airbag issue, you need a law firm that can manage complex civil litigation, that is familiar with technology and that knows how to utilize the right technical expertise to prove your case.

We have experience with airbag cases involving injuries and death. An initial consultation is free, and if we take airbag cases, they are typically handled on contingency. If you would like to discuss your case, contact us here or call and speak with our attorneys.


La Jolla, California

875 Prospect, Suite 305
La Jolla, California 92037

Tel: 858-459-9111

Los Angeles, CA

2029 Century Park East
Suite 400N
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Tel: 310-593-4193

Houston, Texas

1201 Shepherd Drive
Houston, Texas 77007

Tel: 713-589-2214