Who is Liable When the Cause of Your Injuries is a Car Airbag?

Car airbags prevent many more serious injuries than they cause. The purpose of this post is not to make you cagey about riding in a car with airbags. The clickbait industry thrives on fear; there is an entire genre of articles that deal in variations on the theme of “Is your [insert name of harmless product that you use every day] endangering you?” This is not one of those articles; airbags make cars safer in the event of a car accident, not more dangerous. It is possible for airbags to cause injury, though, when they malfunction and even sometimes just by doing what they were designed to do. If you were injured in an incident involving a car airbag, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, just as you should for any other accident that results in injuries.  Depending on the nature of the accident, it could be just another car accident lawsuit, or you might have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.

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How Airbags Work

Airbags are fabric bags concealed within the steering wheel, door, or other structures of the car.  They contain an impact sensor and inflation mechanism, so that they can inflate quickly in a collision and then deflate slowly. They first became widespread in the 1980s; originally, they only protected drivers in front impact collisions; thus, they were less effective in minimizing injury during side impact crashes and could not protect passengers besides the driver. By contrast, many 2018 models of cars have six airbags or more.

While airbags can reduce injury by cushioning impact and acting as a restraint, the mere presence of airbags in your car does not mean that you will walk away from the accident without a scratch. The rapid inflation means that the airbags themselves can cause minor injuries such as bruises, even when they work ideally. If you get injured in a car accident despite the car’s airbags functioning as they should, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the driver whose negligence caused the accident.

When Airbags Malfunction, it Could be Product Liability

In a product liability lawsuit, the injured party sues the manufacturer of the defective product that caused the injury.  If your injuries were caused directly by a malfunctioning airbag, or if your injuries are more serious than they would have been if the airbag had worked properly, you might have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. These are some ways in which airbags have caused or worsened injuries in car accidents:

  • The airbag failed to inflate.
  • The airbag exploded, causing shrapnel to injure the plaintiff.

Airbags are designed for adults. If the airbag inflates when a child is in the passenger seat, it might injure the child because of the child’s height relative to the airbag. For this reason, children should never ride in the front seat until the meet the age and height requirement for doing so.

Contact Case Barnett About Car Accident Injuries

Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been injured in a car accident in which airbags inflate.

What California Women Should Know About Essure Lawsuits

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 11.10.25 AMWhen Essure first debuted on the market in 2002, the media hailed it as the least invasive form of permanent birth control possible. Until Essure became available, the only option for permanent contraception was tubal ligation, which can only be done through an invasive surgery.  Of course, some women who underwent treatment with Essure went on to experience complications ranging from pain to damage to internal organs. In California, as in other states, people who suffered injuries as a result of Essure have filed product liability lawsuits against Bayer, the company that makes Essure.

What is Essure, and How Does it Work?

Essure is an insert made of polyester fibers, nickel, and titanium, surrounded by coils. When inserted into the fallopian tubes, it causes fibrosis, leading to blockage of the tubes and therefore preventing pregnancy. Unlike tubal ligation, which must be done in a hospital and with general anesthesia, Essure is a much simpler procedure, not much different from inserting an intrauterine device (IUD). Promotional materials for Essure claimed that it only takes seven minutes to insert the device, and the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, by the same OB/GYN doctors women see for all concerns related to reproductive health. The effects of Essure are permanent; removing the device and reversing its contraceptive effects is more complicated than reversing a tubal ligation. At least in theory, the only way a woman who has undergone Essure treatment can become pregnant is through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Product Liability Lawsuits Related to Essure

Many women who had had Essure devices inserted experienced complications. For example, some women required hysterectomies because of severe bleeding and pain. In other cases, the devices became dislodged from the patients’ fallopian tubes and damaged other organs. The lawsuits related to Essure are product liability lawsuits against Bayer. In other words, the plaintiffs’ injuries are the result of Bayer’s negligence in manufacturing and in marketing the device. They are not medical malpractice lawsuits because the physicians who inserted Essure were installing it in the safest possible way and made sure that the patients were good candidates to use Essure rather than other forms of birth control.

Bayer has received several citations from the FDA because of adverse events related to Essure.  For example, it has been cited for having Essure made in unlicensed factories and with unapproved materials. Since November 2016, the FDA has required that Essure bear a black box warning detailing the risks associated with the device. Since April 2018, doctors who prescribe Essure must first go through a checklist of questions and warnings with patients before they insert Essure.

Contact Case Barnett About Product Liability Cases

If you have been injured as a result of Essure or another medical device, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. You could receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost income. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to discuss your case.