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Carmakers first introduced airbags for passengers around the mid-1970s because seat belt usage was neither regularly enforced nor practiced in the United States. It wasn’t until 1987 when the first vehicle came equipped with an integrated seat belt and airbag system for both driver and passenger seats.
Today, airbags are essential in reducing the rate of injury and fatality in auto accidents. Statistics show that airbags minimize the risk of death in a direct frontal crash by 30 percent. However, when airbags fail to inflate properly or malfunction completely, they can cause serious physical harm — especially for children riding shotgun.
You might have already heard about the massive airbag recall by Takata in recent months. This recall has already affected millions of vehicles and two dozen car brands including Toyota, Honda, and Mazda. You can find a full list of impacted vehicles here.
The main problem with the Takata airbags involves defective inflator and propellant devices that rupture or deploy inappropriately after a crash occurs. At times, the device can spew metal shrapnel or chemicals into occupants, causing internal bleeding and critical injury to the face, neck, or upper body. This New York Times article describes the issue in full.
There have been at least eight deaths and 139 injuries attributed to defective Takata airbags since 2004. Currently, members of Congress are pressing for the immediate recall of all vehicles with Takata airbags and replacement of potentially defective inflators with tested parts from other suppliers.
Because of the widespread media coverage of the Takata airbag recall, you may be feeling concerned about the possibility of having defective airbags in your own vehicle. Airbags are more prone to rupturing in territories with persistently high humidity and temperature levels, e.g. Southern states like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Toyota are part of an industry-wide testing initiative to identify prospective airbag safety defects. You can check at safercar.gov to see if your vehicle is part of the defective airbags recall. By entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can find out if your vehicle has been part of any airbag recalls over the past 15 years.
In the event of a car crash, defective airbags can exacerbate any physical damage the driver and/or passenger may sustain. The experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help file a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer, parts manufacturer such as Takata, or auto dealership responsible for your defective airbag incident.
Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. If you recently suffered bodily injury and mental trauma from an airbag rupture, failure to inflate, or other safety breakdown, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. One of our skilled Chicago product liability attorneys will work with you privately to go over the details of your case, collect essential forms of evidence, and submit a claim on your behalf. We will also handle negotiation of settlements, and advise you on the optimal route to proceed.
Recovering from a physical injury is already difficult enough. Let the Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. minimize your stress by taking care of the painstaking legal work involved with a defective airbags claim. We do not charge fees at any point unless you win a settlement. Give us a call today at (312) 236-2900 and we will be happy to discuss your case.