Defective Air Bags, Seat Belts & Child Restraints
Restraint systems, which include seat belts and child restraints, are designed to prevent occupants from being thrown around inside the motor vehicle during a crash. Air bags are a type of supplemental restraint that are intended to reduce the likelihood of someone’s head hitting the interior of a vehicle during a collision. Air bags and seat belts are most effective when used in combination.
When air bags, seat belts, and child restraints work properly, they can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury and death in motor vehicle crashes. However, these devices can pose a danger to vehicle occupants if they are poorly designed or do not function as intended because of a defect. Defects in these types of safety devices can be due to inadequate warning labels or arise during the manufacturing or design process.
Unfortunately, defects in airbags, seat belts, and child restraints are not uncommon. In fact, automakers recalled an all-time record of 51.2 million vehicles in 2015 and a significant portion of those safety defects involved airbags.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective air bag, seat belt, or child restraint, contact our experienced Houston defective product lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at 281-283-8500 .
There are two main types of air bags–frontal and side. In a moderate or severe motor vehicle accident, a properly functioning air bag should deploy rapidly to protect the driver and passenger from striking the interior of the vehicle and soften the violent movement of the body during impact.
When the sensors in the vehicle detect a sufficiently severe collision, a signal is sent to the inflator within the air bag. An igniter then initiates a chemical reaction to produce a gas that will inflate the air bag. When an airbag is defective, it may fail to deploy when it is supposed to, deploy at an inappropriate time, or deploy in a way that results in injury or even death to vehicle occupants.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the safety recall of Takata airbag inflators is the largest in America’s history. In the defective Takata airbags, the inflators rupture and send metal shrapnel into the vehicle with explosive force. To date, the defective airbags have resulted in 11 deaths and approximately 180 injuries in the United States.
Defective Seat Belts
Seat belts decrease the risk of crash-related injuries and fatalities by approximately 50 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A defective seat belt can lead to a serious injury and even death in the event of a crash. Defects can impact in any of the following components of a seat belt:
- Latch plates
Defective Child Restraints
Depending on a child’s age and size, car seats, booster seats, or seat belts can be used to greatly reduce the chance of injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Child seats, in particular, are subject to a significant amount of safety recalls due to defective components.
Since the NHTSA began issuing recalls in 1966, 42 million child safety seats have been recalled to correct safety defects. A defective child seat can not only create an unreasonable risk of injury in a motor vehicle collision but in non-operational circumstances.
In 2015, child seat manufacturer Graco was fined $10 million by the U.S. government for failing to recall defective seats in a timely manner. The recall was the largest of its kind in U.S. history and impacted 6 million child car seats. The defect caused the buckle to become stuck in the latched position, which created a serious danger to children in an emergency.
How Our Houston Auto Defect Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one have been injured because of defective airbag, seatbelt, or child restraint system, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses through a product liability claim. The Houston product liability lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have over 27 years of experience handling cases involving defective automobiles and parts.
In the past, we have helped countless individuals injured by automobile defects secure compensation for their past and future:
- Medical costs for injuries caused by the product’s defect
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical limitations
We know how to build a strong case against the company or companies responsible for your injuries and have the resources necessary to hold them accountable. We will fight for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries through knowledgeable and skilled legal representation.