Advances in technology have helped vehicles evolve from clunky metal rectangles on wheels into the sleek, heavily-protected motor vehicles that most people in Ohio know them as today. Despite these advances, defective safety designs can actually put some motorists at an increased risk for injury in a car wreck. Recent air bag injuries illustrate the hazards of such design flaws, and they may also be the basis for an onslaught of product liability claims.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Takata Corp. has already been named as the manufacturer of the potentially defective air bags that are leaving people seriously injured. One victim suffered fatal gashes to her neck after her air bag discharged, leaving police wondering if she’d been murdered rather than simply involved in some type of wreck. Another victim suffered a metal shard being jammed into his or her eye.
The problem appears to lie with the speed at which Takata air bags are discharged. It is believed that the bag may be deploying so quickly that the metal around it is subsequently turned into shrapnel that can seriously injure drivers and passengers. Another idea is that deterioration from moisture could contribute to an explosive release of the airbag.
While the exact reason behind these alleged defective air bags is still unclear, some people believe that the damage they appear to be causing is obvious. Since 2005, vehicles with the defective Takata air bags have been recalled in an effort to protect consumers in Ohio and across the United States. Despite these efforts, injuries continue to occur. Suffering an injury from a product that is intended to offer protection can be exceptionally traumatizing, especially when coupled with unrelated injuries from a car wreck. While some victims may feel hopeless against a large company, product liability laws are designed to protect consumers from being left out in the cold by manufacturers who failed to provide a safe product.
Source: bloomberg.com, “Air-Bag Sleuths Home In on Shrapnel Sprayed at Crashes“, Jeff Green and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Oct. 29, 2014