The lawsuit was filed in Richmond, Virginia by Zachary Duncan against Hyundai. The lawsuit stated that the airbags in the Hyundai Tiburon failed to deploy because the sensors were not in the proper location. The incorrect placement of the sensors caused the side airbags to not deploy.
Also, the suit alleged that Hyundai was aware of the risks associated with the placement of such sensors. Hyundai stated in court that the airbags met federal standards.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, who suffered a traumatic brain injury. He had to learn to walk and talk again, and still has short term memory issues. His medical bills have been more than $100,000 to date. Air bags generally make cars safer, but in a case such as this, the opposite was the case.
Overall, airbags have been a major safety enhancement to motor vehicles for the last two decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags save more than 3,000 lives each year. Statistically, in a crash, a driver has a 30% higher chance of surviving a head on wreck with an air bag.
But in an odd twist of irony, some of the very devices that have been installed in the dashboards, steering wheels and doors of cars to limit injuries, can sometimes malfunction and cause a major injury or even death.
For example, an airbag can, in some situations can snap the neck of a child. This is why you should not have a child who is 12 or younger in the front seat of a car.
Airbags will continue to improve and be used more and more in vehicles, but there always will be a certain risk of malfunction and potential lawsuits for resulting death and injury.
Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro is a personal injury law firm based in both Virginia and North Carolina offices whose personal injury lawyers provide commentary about air bag failures and injuries.