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Defective Airbag Lawyers Los Angeles

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Airbags save lives, which is one reason they’ve been required in new cars since 1990 and in new light trucks since 1995. But airbags can also hurt or even kill a vehicle’s occupant if they’re deployed under the wrong circumstances or the canister in which the airbag is contained is defective. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 260 people were killed by airbags in low-speed crashes between 1990 and 2006. Many more have sustained injuries due to airbag defects that range from minor but unsightly chemical burns to serious, permanent brain damage and even death.

As parents know, airbags can kill babies and small children, whose fragility and small stature puts them at great risk from airbags that inflate as fast as 200 miles per hour. That’s why state laws and experts recommend that children under age 13 never ride in the front seat. But adults and teens run risks from defective or improperly maintained airbags as well:

  • Short and slight adults and older people may run the same risks as children when using airbags, especially if they must adjust the driver’s seat forward in order to reach controls.
  • Drivers and passengers of any age and stature run the risk of minor to serious personal injury from properly used airbags, simply because airbags inflate with such force. These can include serious, second-degree chemical burns from the gas used to inflate the bags; broken noses, hands and other bones from the “smack” of a fast-inflating airbag; hearing damage from the noise; and serious eye and facial injuries to those who drive with hard objects near their faces, like people who wear glasses and pipe-smokers.
  • Drivers and passengers not using seatbelts, using defective seatbelts, unconscious occupants and those sitting too close to the dashboard may sustain serious head, neck and chest injuries when an airbag deploys, hitting them hard in those sensitive areas. Pregnant women are at risk of losing their babies from an airbag deployment too close to their bodies.
  • “Oversensitive” airbags can deploy for little or no reason, causing a loud bang and blocking the driver’s vision, which can quickly cause an avoidable car accident.
  • Defective airbags may not inflate at all, depriving vehicle occupants of the protection they thought they could count on.
  • Replacement, recycled or rebuilt airbags may not be installed properly or work with your vehicle, which can lead to defects or oversensitivity.
  • Defective airbag canisters, such as those manufactured by Takata, have been known to rupture causing metal shards to injured, and even kill, vehicle occupants.

No matter what the circumstances, death or serious injury caused by a defective airbag is one hundred percent avoidable. That’s why airbag-related recalls are one of the most common causes of automotive product recalls. Unfortunately, many auto manufacturers still routinely include defective or unsafe airbags in their new cars and trucks, negligently allowing millions of people to continue driving with a “safety feature” that could kill or disable them for life.

Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP is a nationally recognized leader in automotive defect law. Our partners have handled multiple high-profile, national auto product defect lawsuits – including defective airbag cases – winning record verdicts and settlements for seriously injured clients. These include more than $55 million in Lampe v. Continental Tire, a case where defective tires led to a serious Los Angeles auto accident that left a woman paralyzed. In another case, Anderson v. General Motors, our partners won the largest jury verdict in U.S. legal history for clients who were severely burned in an accident involving a defective gas tank.

The Los Angeles product liability attorneys at Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP are recognized as experts in automotive and product defect law. All are active in consumer attorneys’ organizations and name partners frequently write and speak to other attorneys about their areas of expertise. The firm’s attorneys have been repeatedly nominated or recognized with professional honors such as Trial Lawyer of the Year, and take leadership roles in national class actions and other large-scale litigation.

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