FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-03-13
As a part of a massive recall triggered by reports of defective airbags in Honda vehicles, the company is searching for approximately 640 faulty airbag inflators that it believes were sold as service parts. The defectively manufactured inflators may cause the airbags to overinflate and rupture, causing death or serious injury to the vehicle’s occupants.
So far, the flawed inflators have been tied to 12 injuries and one death. Because most were sold and installed as replacement parts for repairs, tracking them down has been a difficult task. Honda has recalled approximately 900,000 vehicles worldwide in order to inspect them for defective airbag parts. The recall affects several Honda models manufactured between 2001 and 2003.
Risks Associated With Defective Airbags
Defective airbag inflators pose a number of threats to drivers and passengers. An airbag that deploys with too much pressure may burst and lose its effectiveness altogether, much like an airbag that fails to inflate at all. Excessively forceful inflation also creates a risk of serious injury to vehicle occupants who may be struck by the airbag as it inflates. Children and smaller adults face a greater risk of being injured in this way because their heads are closer to the airbags.
Additional risks occur when inflator defects cause airbags to eject debris or deploy unexpectedly in non-crash situations — both of which occurred in a 2010 incident in which a college student was nearly killed by a piece of metal ejected from her vehicle’s airbag when it inflated suddenly at a stoplight.
Manufacturers May Be Liable for Airbag Injuries
When a vehicle defect or design flaw leads to an injury or death, the injured person or surviving family members may be able to receive compensation from the vehicle manufacturer if they can show that the vehicle was not built as safely as it should have been. If you or a loved one has been injured by a potentially defective vehicle, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your situation and find out what legal remedies may be available.