Girardi | Keese

Man killed by the fumes of his airbag

If California residents consider some of the consequences of a car accident, they may think of broken bones, whiplash and other related injuries. However, in a recent story, a driver who actually survived the impact of a minor car crash was killed when he inhaled the fumes of his deployed airbag.

No--he was not injured during the six-car wreck. This man was injured by what may have been a serious auto defect. In this particular case, the car accident turned fatal when his car's airbag broke a window, which punctured through the safety device. When this occurred, the airbag released chemicals that quickly caused the driver to suffer chest and breathing problems.

Ultimately, the victim was taken to the hospital. Approximately two months after the crash, the man's lungs exhibited signs of an infection, and he eventually died from bronchial pneumonia.

According to the coroner, "This man died as a result of this incident and more pointedly because of the explosion of his airbag, and this death should be recorded as misadventure."

A spokesperson for Vauxhall, the car manufacturing company, would not comment on the incident but suggested that an investigation was pending.

It is especially alarming when something that is intended to protect lives takes one. When car manufacturers sell defective vehicles -- especially with full knowledge of those auto defects -- they should be held accountable for the harm they have caused.

In this particular case, the surviving family of the victim may consider legal recovery. For example, if an investigation reveals liability of the car manufacturer, the wife may have options, which can help her deal with the expenses related to the passing of her loved one.

The spouse of the victim made a statement about the incident: "It's just not fair that you have to lose someone because of something that is meant to save a life."

Source: Fox News, "Driver dies after breathing in airbag fumes," May 29, 2012

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