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Airbag/Seatbelt Failures

Two of the most prominent safety features in most modern motor vehicles are airbags and seatbelts. Airbags are the rapidly inflating bags first introduced in the 1970s that activate during collisions to provide cushioning for a vehicle's occupants, while seatbelts are the restraints that became popular in the 1950s and secure occupants against violent movements in crashes. 

Airbags and seatbelts have both saved scores of lives since they were first introduced, but people may suffer injuries that are even more severe when these safety features fail. Airbag and seatbelt failures are frequently the result of design or manufacturing defects, and companies may be liable when such equipment issues result in a person sustaining catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

Lawyer for Airbag/Seatbelt Failures in West Chester, PA

If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in southeastern Pennsylvania as the result of an airbag or seatbelt defect, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Ciccarelli Law Offices has office locations in Malvern, Plymouth Square, Radnor, Springfield, Kennett Square, King of Prussia, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. 

Our West Chester personal injury attorneys can fight to possibly get you the compensation you need and deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Call (610) 719-3190 to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, no obligation consultation.


Chester County Airbag/Seatbelt Failures Information Center


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Types of Airbag Failures in Pennsylvania

Airbags are most commonly found in the steering wheels for the protection of drivers, although many vehicles also have airbags in the dashboard on the passenger sides of the vehicles as well as possible side airbags and curtain airbags (airbags between occupants and windows). Airbags are generally not visible, but they must be able to activate as soon as a motor vehicle has been involved in a crash. 

Some of the most common issues with airbags include, but are not limited to: 

  • Failure to deploy — Airbags are designed to activate upon frontal or side impact, and people sustain severe injuries when the airbags do not deploy as intended. 
  • Deployment with excessive force — If an airbag activates with more force than necessary, a vehicle occupant can suffer injuries he or she would not have otherwise sustained. 
  • Faulty crash sensors — Some airbags may activate even without any vehicle impact, leading to unnecessary passenger injuries
  • Lack of internal tethers — Failure to include tethers in an airbag can lead to improper inflation of an airbag that causes additional injuries to vehicle occupants. 
  • Exploding airbags — Japanese automotive parts company Takata had to recall millions of airbags after a compound called ammonium nitrate broke down and became unstable when the cars were exposed to moisture or temperature swings over time, causing explosions. 
  • Horizontal Inflation Path — An airbag should inflate upwards before extending outwards, but an airbag that inflates horizontally endangers vehicle occupants.

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Types of Seatbelt Failures in West Chester

Seatbelts originally began as simple straps that went across the laps of the occupants, but most vehicles have now adopted three-point seatbelts that are considered lap-and-sash belts which go over a person's chest, pelvis, and shoulders. Child safety seats are harnesses that frequently have additional points of attachment. 

Examples of the seatbelt defects include, but are not limited to: 

  • False latching — A seatbelt that looks and feels secure but in reality is unsecure and releases upon impact. 
  • Inertial unlatching — A seatbelt with a spring loaded release button may be triggered by an occupant's body during a crash, causing the buckle to release without contact. 
  • Retractor failure — Retractors are designed to lock seatbelts in place, but retractor failure can lead to a failure to provide the necessary slack in a seatbelt and cause serious injuries. 
  • Excessive spooling — Spooling refers to the excess amount of the belt webbing that is released during an accident. Too much of a release means the occupant is not properly restrained. 
  • Improper installation — Design or manufacturing errors can lead to seatbelts not functioning properly.
  • Software defect — Some vehicles have highly complex computer systems that manage various aspects of the vehicle—including seatbelts. Issues relating to computer software within the vehicle can impact the performance of seatbelts.

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Pennsylvania Airbag/Seatbelt Failure Resources

Air Bags | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) — CHOP is the oldest hospital in the United States dedicated exclusively to pediatrics. Visit this section of the CHOP website to learn more about airbag safety rules as they relate to child passengers. You can also find information about side airbags and airbag systems. 

Seat Belts: Get the Facts | (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) CDC Injury Center — On this section of the CDC website, you can find information about the impact of seat belt use, risk factors, and effectiveness of seat belts. You can also view state-specific fact sheets that provide snapshots of motor vehicle occupant deaths and seat belt use. The website also has links to various publications about seat belts.


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Find an Airbag/Seatbelt Failure Injury Attorney in West Chester, PA

Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed as the result of a failed airbag or seatbelt in southeastern Pennsylvania? Do not sign any paperwork or make any statements to insurance representatives without first contacting Ciccarelli Law Offices.

Our personal injury lawyers in West Chester represent individuals in communities all over Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, and the greater Philadelphia area. You can have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (610) 719-3190 or complete an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.


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