Defective Auto Products
Every year, vehicle safety features get more advanced. From enhanced seatbelts to backup cameras that come standard, these products are designed to prevent injuries—saving thousands of lives each year. But what happens when these products fail? What happens when the products that were designed to keep you safe hurt you instead?
Defective airbags have been in the national spotlight for the past few years thanks to a recall of more than 85 million Takata air bags. A defect caused some Takata air bags to explode, sending pieces of metal into cars, injuring their drivers and passengers.
The problem is aluminum nitrate—a chemical compound used to inflate air bags. When exposed to moisture, drastic temperature changes, or age, aluminum nitrate can break down and become unstable, leading air bags to explode.
Those explosions have led to significant injuries including bone fractures, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, and even blindness.
Several types of defects can cause airbags to potentially hurt drivers and their passengers:
- Overly Aggressive Air Bags – Overly aggressive air bags are those designed with too much propellant, causing them to inflate too quickly—sometimes faster than 200 mph —and go too far into the occupant compartment.
- Oversized Air Bags – Oversized air bags are too large and shoot out farther than they should.
- Untethered Air Bags – Air bags usually have tethers—cloth strips sewn inside to limit their movement during inflation. Untethered air bags don't limit how far the air bag reaches.
- Low-Deployment Thresholds – While air bags are only necessary in higher-speed crashes, those with low deployment thresholds deploy in low-speed collisions—causing more severe injuries than if they wouldn't have inflated at all.
- Other System Malfunctions – Defective electrical systems and sensors may cause air bags to inflate improperly, not at all, or at the wrong time (such as when you're starting your car, or when you hit a pothole).
Defective Seat Belts
For many, buckling a seat belt is the first order of business when entering a vehicle. While proper seat belt use is said to save thousands of lives each year, yet some have defects that can potentially cause serious, and in some cases, even fatal injuries:
- Passive Restraint Systems – Did you ever ride in a car where the shoulder harness automatically slides down when you close the door? That's a passive restraint system. Since the shoulder harness slides down automatically, it's easy to forget to buckle the lap belt. If you're in a car with a passive restraint system and you get in an accident, the automatic shoulder belt might not be enough to restrain your body. Severe injuries can include decapitation, strangulation, paralysis, and liver lacerations.
- Tension-Relieving Devices – A tension-relieving device creates slack on the shoulder belt to keep it from restricting your movement. Also called a "windowshade," a faulty device can leave too much slack in the belt and fail to protect you the way it should. If there's a defect, you can suffer from severe abdominal, spinal cord, traumatic brain, and facial injuries.
- Defective Buckles – The click of a seat belt buckle is normally the sign that you're ready to be on your way. However, if the buckle doesn't work properly, it may release upon an impact, causing severe injuries like decapitation, strangulation, paralysis, and liver lacerations.
- Ripped or Torn Straps – Sometimes rips and tears can form on seat belt straps, and they may not hold you if you're in a car accident. Always be on the lookout for ripped or torn straps.
If you were seriously injured in a car accident because of a seat belt defect, you may have a case against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the seat belt. Please know: Even though the company probably didn't cause the collision itself, it can be held responsible if the seat belt defect made your injuries worse.
To determine if you have a case, call the product injury attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates today for a free case review.
Sad but true: Even tires that feel and drive fine can hide dangerous defects—and if you have a defective tire, even the smallest moves can cause a serious accident. Defective tires can lead to serious accidents, and sometimes life-changing injuries. They can involve:
- Tire blowouts, tires that shred, or tires that fall off the vehicle
- Skidding, spinning, and swerving
- Loss of control
- Running off the road or crossing lanes
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident that was either caused or made worse by a defective tire, you may have a case against the product's manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
Defective products can cause serious and even life-changing injuries. If you've been the victim of a product injury, we can help. Product injury cases are complex and difficult to navigate. There are strict deadlines, confusing paperwork, and aggressive insurance agents. That's where we come in.
The product injury attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates are here to handle all the hassles so you can focus on what's important—getting well.
Don't delay—if you've been injured by a defective vehicle, call Edgar Snyder & Associates today. We're available 24/7 to answer your legal questions.