“I was injured by the airbag during an auto accident what legal rights do I have?”
I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana. Welcome to Personal Injury Primer … where we work to make the law understandable, provide legal tips, and in general discuss topics related to personal injury law.
We’ve had a number of cases over the years that deal with the failure of the airbag system on cars. The airbag systems in modern cars are complex. They are not supposed to activate at low speeds. At moderate speeds they are designed to expand with limited force. At high speed impacts they should expand with full force.
Of course, if a serious injury results due to the failure of an airbag to activate that is a time to speak with an attorney. But what about injuries that occur when an airbag does inflate? … If a driver is small in stature, say under 5-foot tall, their risk of injury is great because the seat needs to be close to the steering wheel housing the airbag. The plastic cover that flies off of an airbag at the time of inflation, can do serious damage. In one case we handled the airbag housing fractured a young woman’s elbow. These injuries can be prevented if a driver grips the steering wheel properly.
Most modern vehicle operating manuals say to avoid injury, a driver should hold the steering wheel at or below the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock levels. In the case we handled, the proper warning was not set forth in the owner’s manual or posted in the vehicle.
Something also to note, it the airbags don’t work in a car that is over 10 years old, you might not be able to sue. In Indiana there’s a statute which lets car makers off the hook if a product is over 10 years old when it malfunctions. People routinely drive older cars, but safety related equipment in older vehicles may not function as expected.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.