Speed and alcohol are often factors in fatal auto accidents in Hawaii. Because you never know the condition of other drivers or the consideration for others that they exercise behind the wheel, you likely take every precaution, such as refraining from drinking alcohol, avoiding distractions and always wearing your seat belt. Fortunately, newer vehicles have increasingly more advanced safety features, and you have come to rely on them for your family's protection.
When a car accident ends in the tragic death of a driver or passenger, there is typically an investigation into the reason for the crash and the cause of the victim's death. It is not always surprising when a motorist dies from injuries related to the collision, but it may be a shock to learn that safety features, such as a seatbelt or airbag, caused injuries or contributed to the death of a driver or passenger.
Ways an airbag can fail
Airbags have become particularly newsworthy, and you may have heard of the massive recalls related to defective parts in Takata airbags. Some of these airbags exploded, sometimes for no apparent reason, propelling metal shards like bullets into drivers and passengers. Many lawsuits and class action claims resulted from the accidents and injuries these defective airbags caused.
However, there are other ways in which an airbag can cause damage if it does not function properly, for example:
- Inflating too soon, which fails to protect you at the moment of impact
- Failing to deflate, which may result in your head being bounced back against the seat
- Burning your skin, which results from the chemicals used in the deployment process
- Failing to inflate at all, which may be a defect in the sensors or the deployment system
When collision sensors indicate a crash is imminent, your airbags should inflate quickly with an instantaneous chemical reaction that fills the bag with gas. The bag then deflates more slowly to cushion your head and prevent whiplash. It is a complex procedure with each element depending on the success of the previous step. Failure in one component can mean catastrophic injuries to the face and head, neck and spine, chest, and internal organs.
Like many who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in tragic motor vehicle accidents, you may have many questions, and you deserve answers to those questions. If an investigation into your accident reveals that a defective airbag failed to do its job and contributed or caused the death of your loved one or the injuries you now suffer, you have the right to seek legal counsel.