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Airbag Lawsuit Alleges Airbag Failure

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Dallas, TXSince the advent of the vehicular airbag, society has come to rely on the ubiquitous balloon to provide protection from and prevention of serious injury resulting from a crash. The promise, if you will, that the airbag will be there when we need it. Airbag failure does not enter the mind. However, such a failure is at the root of an airbag lawsuit recently filed in the state of Texas.

The Southeast Texas Record (3/27/12) reports on the circumstances leading up to a lawsuit filed against General Motors (GM). The plaintiff, Rick Gill of Henderson, filed the action on behalf of his mother Carolyn Gill, who reportedly has become incapacitated from injuries received when she lost control of her Buick Le Sabre and crashed.

According to the lawsuit, the accident happened September 12 of last year. Gill was reported to have been driving her 2004 Le Sabre when the car left the roadway, flipped over and came to rest on its side. The driver was reported to have been seated properly in the car with utilization of the three-point safety belt.

Airbags were introduced decades ago to augment the protection derived originally from seat belts. While lap belts were brought in to keep the user in the actual seat, the advent of the shoulder harness improved safety by doing a better job of keeping the upper body restrained.

Airbags, including the addition of side airbags and curtain airbags on some models, were designed to better protect the head and soft tissue—and to provide a certain deceleration of impact.

Airbag lawsuits often occur when either an airbag deploys incorrectly and fosters injury or fails to deploy at all—which is the allegation in this case. The plaintiff in the airbag lawsuit claims the Buick Le Sabre his mother was driving was dangerous because the airbags failed to deploy.

Edmunds.com, a website that tracks used vehicles, identifies the 2004 Buick Le Sabre as carrying a four-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the driver and a five-star rating for rollover.

While the 2004 Le Sabre is identified as having available side and curtain airbags according to Edmunds.com, the aforementioned airbags are standard in the pricier Le Sabre Limited and optional on the less-expensive Le Sabre Custom.

The airbag lawsuit did not specify which Le Sabre model the injured woman was driving or how it was equipped. The lawsuit, filed March 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, referenced the failure of "air bag" in the plural sense.

The lawsuit accuses GM of manufacturing a vehicle that was unreasonably dangerous due to the defective airbags, failed to provide adequate restraint and protection, and violated the principles of crashworthiness. The plaintiff is asking for an award of damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement, loss of consortium, interference with daily activities, reduced capacity to enjoy life, and interest and court costs.

The industry website dealerrator.com noted that some 2003 and older models of the Buick Le Sabre were recalled for an airbag inflator on the driver's side that could fracture at a weld during deployment. There is no mention of an airbag recall for 2004 models.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I was in a car accident with a back injury. The accident was in January 2014 (2009 Cheveolet Traverse) and my airbags did not deploy. I have undergone three back procedures and I'm still under a doctors care.

Posted by

on
I was in 2 serious car accidents with Traumatic Brain Injury. One accident was in January 2008 (2000 Grand AM GT) airbags did not deploy and April 2014 (2002 Grand AM GT) airbags did not deploy. Sustained injuries from both accidents, and currently still seeing several doctors including physical therapy.

Posted by

on
October 9th 2009 southbound on US 10 at Midland Mi. Swerved to miss dead deer in road. Did 3 complete rolls, seat belts did not hold. and airbags did not deploy. Husband had head, rib and hand injuries. The car was a 2002 Buick LaSabre. This is the first I have heard about the defective parts.

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