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Defective Replacement Air Bags Could Fail or Even Cause Further Injury in Event of Car Accident

Craig McClellan

After a car accident, you probably think that things can’t get much worse. You may be injured, your car may be damaged and in the shop, you missed time at work, and…your new airbag may be counterfeit? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning to vehicle owners regarding the authenticity of airbags. The government is unaware of how large this problem may be but say that some cars involved in accidents in the past few years may have received counterfeit air bags.

The Issue of Counterfeit Airbags

Instead of protecting the driver, counterfeit airbags do just the opposite. During NHTSA testing, counterfeit airbags failed to offer any significant protection, and in most cases compounded the situation by either not deploying or by launching hot shrapnel into the dummy’s face and hands. The counterfeit airbags are nearly impossible to differentiate from dealer approved versions and often even bear the stamp of the manufacturer’s logo. It is possible in some cases that non-dealer auto shops may have unknowingly installed these dangerous airbags in vehicles being repaired after an accident.

So how do you determine if your car is at risk of carrying defective airbags? The cost of getting all new ones from a dealer is a steep price to pay for uncertainty, and the NHSTA estimates that only .1% of vehicles in the U.S. are carrying defective airbags. The NHTSA is monitoring police reports, consumer complaints, and other sources for further information to help aid in the resolution of this problem. Until then, the following are some characteristics that can help you identify whether or not you are at risk.

Consumers at Risk:

  • Those who have had airbags replaced within the past three years at a non-dealer repair shop
  • Those who purchased a used car between 2009 and 2012 that may have had an air bag deploy
  • Those who own a salvage, rebuilt, or reconstructed car
  • Those who have purchased replacement air bags from non-certified sources

Consumers Not at Risk:

  • Those with new vehicles that have not had air bags replaced
  • Those who know the full history of their vehicle
  • Those certain that their air bags were replaced at a new car dealership

The Guessing Game Continues

If you are still not sure whether you have a counterfeit airbag, the NHTSA has compiled a list of cars that counterfeit airbags have often been installed in. If you suspect your car may have these airbags, talk to your automotive dealer and repair professional to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

Interested in Making an Automotive Defect Claim?

At The McClellan Law Firm, automotive defect claims represent the largest category of recovered compensation over the years. Our San Diego automotive defect lawyers can carefully consider the circumstances of your accident to see if a potential defect led to or increased the severity of your accident. If so, we may be able to help you secure compensation for your damages.

For additional information about how we can best represent your interests, contact our office!