Airbags are critical life-saving devices in auto accidents. Since manufacturers began equipping vehicles with airbags, they have saved over 50,000 lives. Front and/or side airbags are the second line of defense in an accident after seat belts. Unfortunately, if a defective airbag does not deploy properly, it could fail to prevent serious injuries in a car collision. A defective airbag could even cause injuries in certain circumstances, such as if the airbag explodes. If your airbag failed to deploy when it reasonably should have in an auto accident and you suffered injuries as a result, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor.
Did Your Airbag Fail to Deploy?
Manufacturers do not design airbags to deploy in every auto accident. This could cause more harm than good in minor accidents. The power of the airbag deployment could cause injuries such as broken bones or bruising. In more serious collisions, however, potential airbag injuries are minor compared to the injuries the passenger could suffer – enough to warrant deployment. Most manufacturers design airbags to deploy in moderate to severe auto accidents.
- Hitting a solid fixed object at eight miles per hour (mph) or more
- Hitting a parked vehicle at 16 to 28 mph or more
- Hitting a moving vehicle at any speed
Even minor accidents could trigger airbag deployment in some situations. Airbags deploy when sensors connected to the vehicle’s electronic control unit pick up a moderate to severe crash. This triggers a chemical reaction that inflates the airbag in less than 1/20th of a second. This rapid inflation could cause injuries if the driver or passenger is sitting too close to the airbag. This is why experts recommend seating small children in the backseat of a vehicle.
You might have experienced a failure to deploy if you were in a moderate to severe car accident and your airbag did not deploy. If your vehicle suffered substantial damage or you sustained an injury in the crash, these could be signs that your airbag should have deployed. Your vehicle may have frontal and side airbags that should have reasonably gone off during the collision. If they did not deploy and you suffered personal injuries as a result, you may have a claim.
Product Liability Laws
Airbag failure to deploy lawsuits involve product liability laws. Automakers and other product manufacturers must meet certain standards of care in distributing their goods. If they miss design, manufacturing or marketing defects that ultimately cause consumer injuries, they will be strictly liable for damages. Strict liability means the manufacturing company will be liable even without proof of negligence or fault for injuries. A liable airbag manufacturing company may owe a crash victim compensation for several different damages.
- Pain and suffering
- Physical injuries
- Disabilities or scarring
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages due to the injuries
- Lost quality of life
- Legal fees
- Punitive damages
After failed airbag deployment causes you an injury, your personal injury lawyer will need to prove three main facts to obtain compensation. First, the airbag contained a defect and should have deployed in the car accident. Second, you did not alter the airbag from its original design or installation. Third, the defective airbag caused you harm. With these three main elements, you should have the right to obtain compensation from the airbag’s manufacturer through a personal injury lawsuit or class action.
Your Rights After an Airbag Fails to Deploy
Speak to a product liability lawyer after a car accident in which your airbag did not deploy. Failure to deploy could contribute to serious injuries such as bone fractures, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, chest injuries, internal organ damage, lacerations and more. If the airbag contained a defect, you could have a case against the manufacturer or distributor.
You may be able to join a class action if other consumers have experienced similar problems with a particular brand of airbag. Talking to a lawyer about your case can help you understand your rights as a consumer after suffering a serious injury. An attorney may be able to help you fight for fair compensation.