Following last week’s Congressional hearing investigating General Motors for hiding evidence of a faulty part that caused at least 13 people to die, today’s report in the Dallas Morning News of another major airbag defect in GM cars is shocking. GM is in the middle of recalling 2.6 million of its cars whose airbags did not deploy after the engine suddenly turned off, leaving its occupants vulnerable when their vehicles crashed.
GM’s problem of course raises the question of whether other companies’ vehicles also have faulty sensors which have caused other people to die or be seriously injured.
Computer software misread weight of passengers
Donald Friedman has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate a software flaw in 2003-2010 Chevrolet Impalas that prevented frontal air bags from deploying if the passenger’s weight was misread by computers.
Friedman said that there have been at least 143 fatalities in frontal crashes when an Impala’s air bag didn’t deploy, even when most of the people were wearing seat belts.
Other automobile manufacturers also at fault
Nissan Motor Company was just forced to recall almost one million vehicles last month, including the 2014 Altima, due to faulty airbags. Ford, Toyota, Honda, Volvo, and Chrysler have also had to recall vehicles because of defective airbags over the past two years.
The Texas case
Friedman was hired by lawyers investigating why Roberto Martinez died in South Texas in 2011 after the Chevrolet Impala he was riding in was involved in a head-on collision. The passenger-side air bag never went off, although the driver’s air bag did, severely injurying Roberto’s wife Aurora.
Friedman downloaded the Impala’s data recorder which proved that the car had bounced and lifted for a moment before the collision, greatly reducing the sensor’s reading of Roberto’s weight.
Driver’s rights in defective airbag cases
Automobile manufacturers have multiple safety devices and systems that are designed to protect the occupants of their vehicles from being injured in a collision. Airbags have been among the most effective safety measures in head-on collisions. The system has special built in sensors that detect a force greater than 10 miles per hour. In the event of an accident, the airbag can prevent the occupant from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or being ejected.
Airbag injury statistics
More than 444 people have died and thousands have been seriously injured due to airbag injuries since the 1990s. But here, people have died or been injured when airbags did not deploy as expected.
Personal Injuries and Airbag Nondeployment
A person who is injured from an airbag has three options for seeking compensation. He can file a lawsuit against the automobile manufactuer, the airbag manufacturer, the dealer, or the company performing required inspections.
What to do in Case of an Airbag Nondeployment
Anyone who is hurt in an airbag when an airbag did not deploy should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. The attorney can review the facts of your case and determine if you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries and who is responsible.