Can I Still File a Car Accident Claim if the Airbags Never Deployed?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Car crashes can be traumatic and life-changing events. According to the Michigan State Police figures, there were 314,377 crashes on Michigan’s roads in 2019. These crashes caused 985 fatalities and 74,963 injuries.
Over the years, car manufacturers have installed features to reduce the impact of crashes. The design is intended to lower the number of fatalities and injuries on our roads. If these safety features don’t work correctly, the results can be devastating.
If you have been in an auto accident and suffered injuries due to the airbag’s failure to deploy, you should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The car accident lawyers at the law firm Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. We can advise you on a claim against the car or airbag manufacturer.
What Makes Airbags Work?
Per the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, all vehicles manufactured in the United States on or after September 1, 1998, must have airbags in the front seats. Airbags are designed to deploy when your vehicle collides with another object, such as a car. On collision, a signal is sent to the airbag, which starts a chemical reaction that causes the airbag to inflate. This process only takes a fraction of a second.
The airbag, once inflated, prevents you from coming into contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield.
When are Airbags Not Meant to Deploy?
There are several reasons why airbags don’t deploy during a crash. The airbag may not deploy due to design or safety reasons.
Impact isn’t severe enough
Airbags are not designed to deploy in the event of a very minor impact. An airbag is only meant to deploy when the front of the vehicle hits a solid object at variable speeds. If the collision occurs differently, such as a rear-end collision, the airbag may not be triggered at all.
No passenger is detected
If the vehicle detects that a passenger in a front or the rear seat is below a set height and weight, it will not deploy. This is a safety feature to prevent injury to children.
Technical or maintenance problems
The airbag will not deploy if it is turned off or not replaced after deploying in a previous crash.
What Defects Stop Airbags Deploying?
Defective airbags are those which fail to deploy or do not perform correctly. Several issues can result in an airbag failing to provide protection in an accident.
- If there is a defect in the airbag, it will not deploy. This may be caused by a mistake during the manufacturing process or a design fault.
- A defective sensor will fail to send the signal to inflate the airbag.
- Faulty wiring is a common cause of failure of an airbag to deploy.
- Any defective electrical component used to send impact signals during a crash may cause an airbag deployment failure.
How Do I Bring a Product Liability Lawsuit for Defective Airbags?
When an airbag fails to deploy or deploys incorrectly, several parties may be liable for damages. This may include the car manufacturer, airbag manufacturer, and other parties involved in the sales and manufacture of the airbag.
A product liability lawyer investigates the incident and gathers evidence to determine whether the airbag was responsible for the injury. If they can prove that a defective airbag was the cause of your injury, you may be eligible to file lawsuits against the liable parties.
Most airbag deployment lawsuits seek to recover compensation on the grounds that the manufacturer is strictly liable for damages if there is a:
- Design defect
- Problem in manufacturing
- Failure to provide adequate instructions for usage
- Failure to warn about potential risks
The lawsuit may claim that the defendant was negligent. In this case, the lawsuit will argue the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the cause of your injury.
The manufacturer may also be sued for breach of warranty. Here you would claim that the manufacturer breached an express or implied warranty. This may be more difficult to prove, but it is used sometimes in defective airbag cases.
What Kind Of Injuries Do Defective Airbags Cause?
Japanese automotive parts company, Takata, has tens of thousands of vehicles under recall due to airbag deficiencies. As of September 2021, there were 19 deaths and over 400 injuries in the U.S. due to these airbag defects.
Airbags have caused serious injuries such as:
- Brain injury
- Facial injuries
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident because the airbags didn’t deploy or as a result of an airbag malfunction, seek medical attention. Even if you think your injuries are minor, consult your doctor. Minor injuries can lead to significant pain and disability days, weeks, or months following a car crash.
Seek Legal Advice if You Have Been Injured by a Defective Airbag
If you have been injured as a result of a defective airbag, consult a personal injury lawyer about your legal options. You may have grounds to pursue a product liability case against the party responsible for these defects.
With a track record of negotiating million dollar settlements and success in securing verdicts our personal injury and product liability attorneys have the experience to help you pursue a fair settlement for your injuries.
Our law firm’s car accident attorneys can communicate with your insurance company and negotiate with the defendents’ insurance companies on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Our attorneys have spent decades representing injury victims throughout Michigan and we can do the same for you.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.