Chrysler is recalling 282,000 minivans from the 2013 model year because of defective side airbags that can deploy on the wrong side in the crash. According to a news report in The Associated Press, affected models include the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country and Ram Cargo Van. The recall campaign involves 224,000 vehicles in the United States.

Side airbags are supposed to deploy on the side of the vehicle that is impacted in a crash. However, Chrysler is saying that a software problem is causing its airbags to deploy on the opposing side of the vehicle. Chrysler officials say they started to investigate the issue after a customer complaint. So far, they say, one minor injury has been reported in connection with this airbag defect. When the recall begins, Chrysler will begin to notify affected customers. Dealers will fix the software issue at no cost to consumers.

 The Importance of Side Airbags

According to Consumer Reports, crash tests show that head-protecting side airbags are particularly important because they protect vehicle occupants from side-impact collisions such as T-bone crashes at street intersections. Side airbags primarily protect the torso and side curtain airbags protect the head and should be federally mandated in all vehicles. When a vehicle is hit and the wrong side airbag is deployed, the vehicle’s occupant is left unprotected and could suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

 Auto Product Liability Issues

Anyone who has been injured as the result of an airbag defect or any auto product defect, can file a product liability claim against the automaker seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation for damages and losses as well.

If you suspect an auto defect caused your crash, please preserve the vehicle in its current condition unaltered so it can be thoroughly examined by an expert for any evidence of defects or malfunctions. An experienced auto product liability attorney will be able to ensure that victims’ rights are protected and that the negligent manufacturer is held accountable.