One question that potential clients frequently ask in an California personal injury consultation is “Do I have a case if my airbags didn’t deploy during a car accident?” Almost all vehicles on the road have airbags, but airbags don’t always deploy or activate in a collision when they should. This scenario is surprisingly common.
Airbags can save lives and prevent vehicle occupants from being ejected through the windshield. But what happens when they don’t work? Sometimes, the failure of an airbag makes an accident not survivable. In other cases, injuries sustained in an accident where an airbag didn’t deploy are worse than they would have been had the airbag have functioned properly.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Product liability claims require extensive experience and strong legal skills. Liability may not be obvious and will likely be disputed. At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we work with some of the best expert witnesses to build the strength of your claim. Our network of experts includes:
- Product designers
- Design engineers
- Accident reconstruction specialists
- Medical experts.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates help victims of California vehicle accidents, including those involving defective airbags. We fight for full and fair compensation and have successfully obtained positive results in many product liability cases. We are not afraid to take on difficult cases against vehicle manufacturers and top players in the automotive airbag market.
Are Airbags Effective?
The first airbag was developed in the 1950’s and first installed in production vehicles in 1974. Initially, airbags in vehicles were a bit of a novelty. In the event of a crash, the “bag,” really a gas-filled envelope, is triggered to rapidly expand in a matter of milliseconds.
In vehicles on the road today, airbags play a critical role in a traffic accident. The “supplemental restraint system” or SRS uses a chemical reaction to inflate an airbag in about ⅓ of a second. Since they’ve been required in all vehicles since 1999, airbags have saved thousands of lives of vehicle occupants. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags plus a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatality in a frontal crash by 61%. Seat belts alone reduce risk of death by 50 percent, and airbags alone reduce the risk of fatality by 34%.
Reasons Why An Airbag Didn’t Deploy During An Accident
Airbags may not deploy in a collision for a number of reasons:
- The accident was a minor collision and did not trigger airbag sensors
- An electrical component failed
- Parts were installed improperly
- Airbag sensors were defective and failed to detect the impact of a collision.
- A small child or small-stature adult was in the front seat and sensors automatically shut off the airbag system.
Airbags in modern vehicles are designed to last the life of the vehicle and do not “expire.” Vehicles are equipped with diagnosed systems and an indicator light on the dashboard should display if a problem is discovered.
Who Can Be Held Responsible If The Airbag Was Defective?
You may have a valid claim against the vehicle manufacturer, the airbag manufacturer, and potentially other parties if you were in a vehicle accident and the airbag did not deploy when it should have. Defective airbag claims are a type of product liability lawsuit. Generally, you will have to prove:
- The airbags were defective
- The airbags should have deployed
- You did not alter or change the airbags
- Your injuries or loved one’s death was the result of the defective airbags.
If your vehicle’s airbag did not deploy in a situation where it should have, you may seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Claims against parts or vehicle manufacturers are challenging because they are often promptly denied and vigorously defended. The burden of proving negligence in the product design or manufacturing process will be placed on the victim. Without an attorney, it may be difficult to impossible to successfully recover compensation.
Injuries That Can Result From An Accident Where The Airbag Didn’t Deploy
Failure of an airbag to deploy in an accident can result in catastrophic or life-threatening injuries, including:
- Broken bone injuries
- Burn injuries
- Laceration injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic amputation injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of life (wrongful death).
Because airbags are designed to save lives, unfortunately, their failure to work can mean vehicle occupants do not survive.
What If the Airbag Didn’t Deploy?
The airbag not deploying in your vehicle accident does not automatically mean that you have a case. However, if the manufacturer’s negligence in designing, engineering, or installing the airbags led to your injuries, you may recover compensation for damages related to your injury or a loved one’s death. You should neither assume you have a claim nor assume you don’t. The best thing you can do is preserve evidence, seek medical attention and contact an experienced attorney right away.
Get a Free Consultation with a California Product Liability Lawyer
Contact the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates today to speak with a lawyer about your potential defective airbag case. We offer a free consultation to answer your questions and discuss your legal rights. Our team is available 365 days a year to take your call. If we are able to represent you in your claim, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.
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