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Automobile technology has made astounding advances in the little more than a century since cars first began replacing the horse-and-buggy. Among the most significant of those are improvements in automotive safety. Seat belts, airbags, car body design, and modern materials have made cars and trucks far safer over time, saving millions of lives.
However, advances in safety technology have not come without problems. Some safety features of modern automobiles, ironically, cause injuries in crashes, even while preventing other, perhaps more serious ones. Airbags, for example, may save your life, but leave you with a concussion that could leave you permanently disabled.
In this blog post, we explore some of those injury-causing safety features and discuss how a car accident attorney can help if a motor vehicle collision injures you despite the protections they offer.
The United States awarded the first airbag patent in 1953. It took another twenty years before airbags started to find their way into production automobiles. Today, airbags constitute a standard safety feature in virtually all passenger cars and trucks sold in the United States.
The purpose of airbags is to prevent a vehicle occupant’s head and torso from colliding with hard surfaces inside a vehicle in a crash. Driver-side airbags protect a driver’s head and body from slamming against the steering wheel. Passenger-side airbags prevent a collision with the dashboard. Both provide some measure of protection against unbelted passengers colliding with, and even breaking through, the windshield. Side-impact airbags protect all vehicle occupants from banging their heads against the vehicle frame.
Airbags deploy in around 0.016 seconds to prevent injury in a crash. Unfortunately, the rapid deployment of airbags can lead to a wide range of injuries even when airbags work as intended in a collision, including:
A stunning fact about these injuries is that they happen when an airbag works as intended. That is, even when an airbag saves your life, it can still hurt you. Badly.
Unfortunately, airbags have also been known to malfunction. For example, depending on the circumstances, a sudden, unexpected airbag deployment can have catastrophic consequences. In addition to causing the types of injuries listed above, an airbag that deploys spontaneously can catch a driver off-guard and lead to the loss of control of a vehicle and a dangerous, even deadly, crash.
In fact, airbags made by the manufacturer Takata, installed in numerous makes and models of vehicles across multiple manufacturers, have failed so often that they required widespread recalls. Injuries resulting from these failures—principally airbags that did not deploy when they should have, or that deployed spontaneously when they should not have—have also spurred numerous individual and class action lawsuits by injured drivers and passengers, and grieving families.
If a car accident caused you or a loved one harm, whether an airbag didn’t work as intended or someone caused a crash where an airbag helped to reduce the severity of your injuries, contact an experienced motor vehicle accident injury attorney right away. You may have substantial legal rights to compensation for your injuries and losses.
We tend to take seat belts for granted. Today, over-the-shoulder seat belts for front and back passengers come standard in every new car sold in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America’s public health agency, seat belts save tens of thousands of lives every year.
However, while seat belts can save your life, they can also leave you with serious injuries in a crash, including severe contusions, broken bones, and even internal organ damage when the force of a crash leads to them tightening too much across a vehicle occupant’s body. A pregnant woman may survive a crash because of a seat belt—but because of the seat belt, her unborn baby might not.
These injuries can happen even when people wear seat belts correctly.
Seat belts worn incorrectly may cause even more severe and catastrophic injuries, and even death.
Follow these tips from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ensure a proper seat belt fit, and to prevent seat belt-related injuries:
Seat belt technology has existed for so long that it should constitute one of the most dependable safety features of any modern vehicle. Manufacturers have little excuse for selling any car or truck with seat belts that harm vehicle occupants in a collision. If a car accident left you or a loved one injured after a crash—regardless of whether a seat belt reduced or worsened your injuries—contact an experienced automotive injury lawyer today for a free consultation about your legal rights to compensation.
Today’s new cars come with some truly amazing features intended to supplement a driver’s own abilities to control a vehicle and to react to road hazards. Manufacturers give these features a variety of (sometimes confusing) names, such as brake assist or adaptive cruise control.
In general, they fall into two broad categories:
These systems can make significant contributions to vehicle safety. However, for now they also create two significant, unintended hazards.
If you or a loved one got into a crash precipitated, in one form or another, by a negligent driver who thought that automatic braking or warning systems meant to serve as a form of autopilot, speak with a skilled, knowledgeable motor vehicle accident injury attorney today. You may have important rights to receive significant financial compensation.
Car accident lawyers protect injured accident victims and the public at large by holding automotive manufacturers financially accountable when supposed vehicle safety features cause harm.
If you sustained injuries in an accident and believe at least some of the harm you suffered occurred because of an airbag, seat belt, driver-assist system, or other safety feature, an experienced motor vehicle accident and product liability lawyer may help you recover the compensation you deserve by:
No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of any crash injury claim, of course. Every case has its own unique facts and circumstances that influence its outcome. In general, however, a claim for damages resulting from the malfunction of a vehicle safety feature may recover damages to compensate you for your medical and other crash-related expenses, your lost wages, your future disability, and the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life you and your family have been forced to endure because of a safety feature-related crash.
Car accident injuries can alter your life forever. Even the mildest of traumatic brain injuries, for example, can require extensive and prolonged medical attention, and cost you tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, even after medical insurance pays its share. Those expenses take a massive toll on their own, not to mention the physical and emotional struggle caused by an accident injury.
You do not deserve to bear the burden of those challenges on your own, especially not if they happened because a vehicle safety feature failed to do its job of keeping you safe from harm in a crash, or because another driver’s negligence was more than those safety features could handle.
Instead, you have the right to expect justice, accountability, and fair compensation for your difficulties from the automotive manufacturers and others whose shoddy products put you in harm’s way.
If a car accident wreaks havoc and devastation in your life, either by injuring you or a loved one, do not wait to seek quality legal help. You may have the right to recover a substantial amount of money for your troubles, but only if you act quickly to protect your interests. Contact an experienced, knowledgeable, and well-resourced motor vehicle accident attorney today for a free consultation.
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