The short answer is yes, you can sue if your airbags didn’t deploy during a motor vehicle accident and you were injured as a result. A successful lawsuit is obviously more complex than that simple answer, though, and educating yourself about airbag failures can be important to making the right decisions in your case.
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is also a good idea when you’re suing due to injuries when airbags didn’t deploy. Find out more about airbag failures below, including some steps you can take to increase your chances at successfully seeking compensation for your injuries.
Common Reasons Airbags Fail to Deploy
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags aren’t meant to deploy in all vehicle accidents. Whether or not an airbag deploys depends on the force and speed of the impact, the direction of the impact, and many other variables. The intent of airbags is to deploy when there is a need to provide additional protection for the occupants of a vehicle that might be required due to the nature of the accident.
Outside of mild or moderate crash conditions that aren’t severe enough to cause airbag deployment, there are a few other reasons airbags may fail to deploy:
- They’re turned off. Some vehicles have switches that let you turn off the airbags for various reasons. Most new cars have sensors that automatically turn off airbags if small passengers, such as children, are detected in the front seat. This is because the force of the airbag may be more dangerous to such individuals than the lack of an airbag.
- The airbag was not replaced after a previous accident. The NHTSA notes that airbags should be replaced after they are deployed. Attempting to reuse an airbag that deployed during a previous crash can cause malfunctions.
- Product malfunction or defect. In rare cases, airbags simply don’t function appropriately and fail to deploy when they should have. This might be due to a malfunction of the airbag, sensors, or other parts in the vehicle’s safety systems.
Who Might Be Liable if Airbags Don’t Deploy During an Accident?
One of the first steps in filing a lawsuit related to airbag failure is determining who to name in the suit. You might think the vehicle manufacturer is the obvious choice, but a lawyer with experience in car accident cases can help you understand all the parties that might be liable. Some options can include, but aren’t limited to:
- The vehicle manufacturer
- The airbag or part manufacturer
- The company that sold you the vehicle, in the case of a used car
- Another driver who might have been at fault in the crash
How to Increase the Chance of Success if You Sue Because Your Airbags Didn’t Deploy
A personal injury attorney does much more than name the right parties in a lawsuit. They work on your behalf to ensure the best possible chance of success with your claim. Some things a lawyer might help you do include:
- Discover why the airbags didn’t deploy. The attorney may research your crash to help you understand why airbags failed. This can be important in proving your case, because you might have to demonstrate that the airbag didn’t fail due to any action on your part. That might mean proving you didn’t turn the airbags off or that you weren’t involved in a previous crash and failed to replace the airbags.
- Understand the context of your injuries. In some cases, you may have to demonstrate that you were injured worse than you would have been had the airbags deployed. Demonstrating that the airbag failure contributed to the severity of your injuries can help you seek compensation from airbag or vehicle manufacturers and others.
- Gather requirement documents and evidence. Some information a personal injury lawyer helps you gather includes photographs from the scene, video footage of the incident, medical records related to injuries, proof of airbag failure, and testimony from witnesses and experts designed to prove your case.
- Review settlement offers. When you’re hurting from an injury and dealing with lost income or medical bills, it can be tempting to take the first offer just to make some immediate ends meet. Your lawyer is an objective professional that can help you understand the merits of any offer and whether or not you should seriously consider them. While your lawyer can’t decide for you, he or she can offer the objective context you need to make better decisions during a difficult time.
Work With an Attorney to Seek Compensation if Your Airbag Didn’t Deploy
Damages you might seek include payments for medical treatments that you need now or may need in the future due to injuries sustained in the accident. You might also seek compensation for lost income. You may also be able to seek damages for pain and suffering, lost property, disability or disfigurement, or a lower quality of life.
Success in seeking compensation depends on the validity of your claim and the strength of your case. The Rizzuto Law Firm can help you create a strong case for compensation, helping you lay the groundwork for a more stable future following an accident.