Michigan’s Seatbelt and Airbag Injuries Lawyer
While many car accidents happen due to another driver’s reckless or careless behavior, some car crash injuries are due to malfunctioning or defective vehicle parts.
If you’ve suffered injuries resulting from wearing a seatbelt or hitting an airbag upon impact, contact a personal injury attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. Our extensive legal experience with auto accidents can help us build a strong argument on your behalf by establishing a connection between the defective safety device and your injuries.
Seatbelts and Airbags: The Law
The federal government made vehicle seatbelts mandatory in 1964 and shoulder belts in 1968. It was not until 1998 that all passenger vehicles and light trucks were required to have frontal airbags.
Airbags are supplemental protection and designed to work best in combination with seatbelts. All vehicles must have seatbelts and airbags as safety features to protect the driver and passengers in case of an accident, and you trust that they will keep you safe if you are involved in an accident.
Michigan’s seatbelt law requires drivers and front seat passengers to wear their seatbelts and passengers aged 8 to 15 to put on their seatbelts in all seating positions, including the rear seat.
However, when a seatbelt or airbag malfunctions, the consequences for the vehicle’s occupants can be devastating. If a seatbelt or airbag malfunctions and fails to protect you, your only option is to file a claim against the manufacturer.
Seatbelt Malfunction Injuries
A seatbelt malfunction can occur when the seatbelt has a manufacturing defect. It can also be caused by incorrect installation or damage to the seatbelt itself. Defective seatbelts are common, and as recently as 2022, General Motors recalled over 484,155 SUVs for potentially defective rear seatbelts in the third row.
That same year, Hyundai also recalled 239,000 vehicles due to the seatbelt pretensioners exploding and potentially injuring vehicle occupants. There are several common defects with seatbelts, including:
- Inertial unlatching can occur when poorly designed buckles detach upon impact
- False latching of the buckles that can become loose under pressure
- Ripped and torn webbing in the seatbelt
- Excessive seatbelt slack to keep the occupant in place in case of an accident
- Improper installation of the shoulder and lap belt
A seatbelt that fails to function properly can cause catastrophic injuries. As a result of a defective seatbelt, these injuries can occur:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries such as internal bleeding and punctured organs
Airbag Malfunction Injuries
When you are involved in a car crash at 16-28 mph or more, a signal is sent from the frontal airbag system’s control unit to the inflator, which ignites a chemical reaction that produces gas to inflate the airbag.
Unfortunately, airbags can also become defective, causing severe injuries and death. Takata, a major airbag manufacturer, recalled around 67 million airbags due to the danger of exploding when deployed. Some of the ways an airbag can malfunction include:
- Doesn’t deploy
- Deploys too slowly or quickly
- Deploys too forcefully
- Deploys at the wrong angle
Common airbag-related injuries can include:
- Facial impact injuries like a broken nose, black eyes, and crushed cheekbones
- Concussion or head injury
- Fractured, broken, or sprained neck
- Severe bruising
- Hearing loss or blindness
- Airbag burns
Who May Be Liable for Your Seatbelt and Airbag Injuries?
Once you have received treatment for your injuries, you can begin filing a claim. In most cases, you file a product liability injury claim against the seatbelt manufacturer within three years from the date you sustained your injury. However, strict liability can’t be applied to products that have been in use for over ten years.
To succeed in this type of claim, you must prove that the seatbelt was defective and that this defect caused your injuries. A knowledgeable attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong case. If successful, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Cochran, Kroll & Associates. P.C. Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you believe you have a case for injuries from a defective seatbelt or airbag, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced attorney to ensure you receive a fair settlement. A personal injury lawyer at our law firm can investigate your claim and help you understand your legal options. What to expect from your lawyer:
Offer Legal Advice
Your lawyer will assess your claim and help you to understand what steps to take after your accident. We may recommend that you keep your vehicle in a secure facility to preserve all evidence in the vehicle, including the defective seatbelt and marks and dents from the accident.
We will let you know the steps to prove product liability in your claim and discuss our legal strategy so we can maximize your compensation.
Prove the Seatbelt and Airbag Malfunction
When filing a claim, it is important to be ready with documentation that can attest to the severity of your injuries and damages. As part of your legal representation, you can work with your lawyer to gather all evidence, including police reports, photos, and videos of the accident. Car expert testimonies can offer insight into the design and manufacturing of the seatbelt or airbag and if there were any recalls.
At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, is a former nurse who can examine your case from a legal and medical viewpoint. She can establish a connection between the failed safety device and your injuries, strengthening your claim.
Negotiate with the Manufacturers
Manufacturers and their legal teams are experienced at negotiating claims and taking advantage of you if an attorney does not represent you. Their lawyers may attempt to find any reason to deny your claim or offer less than the value of your settlement. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can protect your legal rights and ensure that you can receive a fair settlement.
File a Lawsuit Against the Automobile Manufacturer
If the manufacturer refuses to accept liability or grant adequate compensation, you may need to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can use the evidence to prove that the defective safety device caused your injuries and help you gain compensation for your injuries.
Seek Justice for Your Seatbelt or Airbag Injury in Michigan
While seatbelts and airbags have significantly reduced fatal car accidents, malfunctioning equipment has resulted in countless injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a defective or malfunctioning seatbelt or airbag, contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. for a confidential, free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your claim.
You may be entitled to compensation for damages or a wrongful death.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
RESULTS-DRIVEN TRACK RECORD
Medical Malpractice / Birth Injury
A young couple from Monroe, Michigan, was awarded a $15.8 million verdict as the result of their baby son, Jason, being inflicted with Cerebral Palsy as the result of an error during the final stages of a labor.
Result: $15.8 Million
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death
Oakland County, Michigan
While in the hospital a mother of three was not properly treated for a closed-head injury causing her untimely death.
Result: $1 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Brain Injury
A Livonia pedestrian recovered $1.4 million when he was struck by a commercial van resulting in a traumatic brain injury in Redford, Michigan.
Result: $1.4 Million
Medical Malpractice / Misdiagnosis
Wayne County, Michigan
Patient suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage when a hospital failed to recognize internal bleeding and treatment was delayed for more than 14 hours.
Result: $9 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Tuscola County, Michigan
A Tuscola County jury awarded $3.3 million to a severely brain injured motorist as the result of a defective Michigan highway.
Result: $3.3 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site Injury
A seventeen-year-old construction worker suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall in Flint, Michigan, and was awarded $1.25 million.
Result: $1.25 Million
Wayne County, Michigan
Middle-aged woman suffered severe disfiguring facial burns from a simple surgical procedure.
Result: $1.9 Million
Medical Malpractice / Birth Trauma
Child developed cerebral palsy with developmental delays due to lack of oxygen and brain injury during labor and delivery.
Result: $3.8 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site/Workplace Injury
A Westland construction worker recovered $1.5 million after sustaining a traumatic brain injury while on a construction site in Detroit, Michigan.
Result: $1.5 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Truck Accident
A Marlette, Michigan, family reached a $1.3 million settlement in the traffic death of their 5-year-old son when they were struck by a semi truck.
Result: $1.3 Million
Medical Malpractice/Cancer Misdiagnosis
The misdiagnosis of breast cancer resulted in a Redford, Michigan, woman recovering $225,000.
A construction worker redeemed his worker’s compensation case for $125,000 in Detroit, Michigan.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
A paraplegic woman from Monroe, Michigan, recovered Michigan no-fault benefits including the purchase of a new home and attendant care in excess of $400,000.
Medical Malpractice/Birth Injury
Brighton, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan
A Brighton family recovered $1.3 million and a Detroit family recovered $900,000 as the result of birth injuries and medical malpractice to their children.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Bay City, Michigan
A Bay City grandmother was awarded $80,000 following an auto accident resulting in a broken leg.