Side Airbags Protect against Catastrophic Injury and Death from Side Impact Accidents
Each year, tens of thousands of people sustain catastrophic injuries—or die—on American highways, as the result of side impact crashes. Head-protecting side airbags are known to be the only way to prevent traumatic brain injuries and death in this type of accident. It is an established fact that side airbags reduce driver and passenger deaths and injuries by close to 40 per cent—and, more specifically, that side airbags that protect the head reduce fatality risks by 52%, while side airbags that only protect the torso reduce fatality risks by 30%. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, if all cars were equipped with side airbags, thousands of lives would be saved annually.
Many automobile manufacturers offer side airbags as an option, and not as standard equipment, even though the cost of installing them is minimal compared to the risk of injury. Therefore, we believe that, if an individual sustains a catastrophic brain injury, paralysis, or wrongful death because a vehicle manufacturer did not install side airbags for protection—or because the side airbag system failed—the manufacturer ought to be held fully accountable. Indeed, when an automobile manufacturer fails to provide side air bag protection to the passenger, it can be held responsible for damages, according to vehicle design defect theory.
We recently completed litigation of a claim involving a woman who was struck by another vehicle that ran a red light. Of course, after protracted litigation, the other vehicle’s insurance company tendered their minimal insurance policy limits. However, that amount was not enough to fully compensate the victim, and we were able to obtain a significant additional amount from the manufacturer of the vehicle, owing to its failure to install side airbags on the vehicle.
We believe that safety, not profitability, should always be the number one concern, when it comes to the design and manufacture of motor vehicles. Our skilled auto defect and car accident lawyers understand that safety should never be an option. Jeffrey Reiff is a nationally recognized car accident and auto defect attorney dedicated to vehicle safety issues, and he deals with crashworthiness and other design issues seven days a week, 24/7.