Attorney Ben Schwartz discusses his thoughts on the Takata airbag failures, which impacts millions of vehicles and their drivers.
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Today, we are going to talk about car accident cases involving airbag failures.
There has been a lot in the news about the Takata airbag recall & airbag failures. Some airbags shoot out metal projectiles when they go off that cause injuries. I get phone calls all the time about car accident cases where an airbag didn’t go off. People always ask: “I was in a car accident and my airbag didn’t work. Should we pursue a case against the manufacturer of the car, or should we pursue a case against the manufacturer of the airbag?”
Often, I find that the type of accident wouldn’t cause an airbag to go off. Here’s how airbags work in car crashes: if you are in a frontal collision (i.e., you run into another vehicle) and the damage is to the front of your car, you would expect your airbag to go off. If you run into the back or the side of another vehicle – and the impact is to the front of your car with a closing rate of 8-14 miles an hour – then the collision has to be significant enough for your airbag to go off.
A lot of airbags like Takata use a ball & tube. They have metal balls inside that are held to the back of the bag by a magnet. If the impact is great enough, it will dislodge that ball from the magnet and send it to the front of the tube. The circuit will close by the two sensors touching, and the airbag will go off.
People contact me all the time. They are going through an intersection, someone runs a red light and smashes into the side of their car. The airbag didn’t go off. They ask, “Should we pursue a case against the automobile manufacturer because the airbag didn’t go off?” Absolutely not! I think people should know what airbags are designed to do and how they work.
People should also have information about what to expect in the event of an accident, so that people have more information about what to expect from an attorney who is investigating potential claims, after a car accident involving personal injuries.