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Lack of Air Bag Warning Makes Auto Maker Liable for Injury
Description Driver of car equipped with air bag was injured by the bag when it inflated during an accident. Failure of auto maker not to warn consumers to sit too close to steering wheel was product defect that would allow jury to find for plaintiff.
Topic Torts
Key Words Products Liability; Air Bags; Failure to Warn
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Bresnahan, 5'8" tall, drove her Chrysler seated less than a foot from the steering wheel. Her arm was broken by the car's air bag when it was triggered by an accident. She sued Chrysler for failing to warn her that she should not sit so close to the steering wheel when driving a car equipped with an air bag. The jury awarded her $50,000 in damages; Chrysler appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Expert testimony indicated that the car maker knew such injuries could occur if a driver sat too close to the air bag. It was reasonable for the jury to find that since Chrysler was aware of the danger, the "vehicle was defective absent a warning to avoid driving close to the wheel, as plaintiff did."
Citation Bresnahan v. Chrysler Corp., 1998 WL 427310 (---Cal.Rptr.2d---, Ct. App., Calif.)
76 Cal.Rptr.2d 804 (Ct. App., Calif., 1998)

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