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Car Accident Injuries Caused by Airbags

We often think of airbags as protectors-small devices that we rarely see but that we trust will keep us safe in case of a car accident. But in some unfortunate cases, the airbags themselves and the materials they are made of could be the ones causing injury. Often airbags are recalled from car manufacturers because they are "defective" and could cause harm to passengers, such as through flying materials and harsh impact.

Types of Airbags

Side airbags are meant to protect passengers during side impact crashes that normally occurs at intersections or when a car crashes into an object off the road such as a tree or lamp post. They can also protect passengers in rollover accidents or when two cars crash at an adjacent angle.


Critical airbag accidents can cause damage to the eyes, neck, head, brain, and spine. There are three major ways that airbags can cause harm to passengers:

  • Manufacturers fail to install airbags (very, very rare)
  • Airbag malfunctions (fails to open during accident)
  • Airbags open in a low impact crash and cause severe injuries (the most common cause of airbag lawsuits)

Major Recall History

  • 2004 - Over 1.4M recalls due to safety problems. Mostly because of wiring problems that resulted in deployment for no reason.
  • 2008 - Honda recalled some of its units because airbags opened so forcefully that metal parts could have blasted through the airbags, causing serious injuries to the eyes and face.
  • 2011 - Honda recalls over 800,000 airbags to ensure that faulty airbags are not still out there.
  • 2014 - Earlier this month, manufacturer Takata recalled millions of airbags due to inflator problems and is now under investigation.


Several ongoing investigations have been conducted to assess whether airbags are ready for crashes. The following conclusions were made:

Side air bags are not acceptable as protective gear for kids seated in the front seat of cars and can seriously injure or even kill them in an accident. This is why it is recommended that children remain in the backseat until they are older.

Air bags are being styled and installed, because of certification testing requirements, mainly to protect unbelted passengers instead of belted vehicle occupants, even if they are being advertised as supplemental restraint systems and most passengers use seatbelts.

Airbag Lawsuits

If airbags fail and cause serious injuries, claims based on strict liability, negligence and contract law can be made against the manufacturer. But many lawsuits can be complicated and require heavy analysis from experts and often additional studies of similar car models. Our Austin car accident attorneys can assist with witness testimonials, determining whether the airbag has malfunction, checking automotive data, etc. The team at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP is ready to fight for your injuries and losses, especially against large car companies that may not look out for your best interests.

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