Defects or malfunctions in vehicles can cause serious injuries or even death for motorists and their passengers. In Illinois and elsewhere, this has frequently resulted in a product liability lawsuit. In one case, a 59-year-old driver seemed to have escaped from a six-car pileup relatively uninjured, only to tragically die much later from deadly fumes he breathed in from his air bag when it properly deployed to protect him during the collision.
During the accident, a window in the vehicle was shattered, with a shard of glass penetrating through the outer confines of the expanded safety air bag. The chemical fumes released in the process and soon resulted in the motorist experiencing breathing and chest difficulties which at first seemed inexplicable. The airbag's deployment probably did protect him from some immediate impact injuries only to ultimately cost him his life.
About eight weeks after the accident, in January of 2011, the driver was rushed to the hospital because the breathing and chest difficulties were not going away, but instead getting worse. Medical personnel ran tests which revealed an infection in his lungs. Attempts by doctors to save his life were unavailing, and he died soon after, with the cause of death listed as bronchial pneumonia.
The man's widow stated that he had complained, right after the accident, of copious white powder emitted from the airbag which was so plentiful that he could not see. She believed right away that her husband's health problems stemmed from the airbag explosion, but some other people told her that this was silly, and that the airbag could do no harm. Subsequently, the coroner stated that it was, in fact, the airbag explosion which ultimately caused the death.
Source: Fox News, "Driver dies after breathing in airbag fumes," May 29, 2012