Modern vehicles now feature a wide range of safety features designed to protect passengers from serious injury in case of an accident. Airbags are generally one of the most important of these safety features and have saved countless lives since they became standard a few decades ago. Unfortunately, in some cases these airbags fail to deploy properly during an accident, which can potentially result in serious injuries or even death. In this case, it may be possible to sue the auto manufacturer for damages should the airbag failure be related to a specific defect or flaw.
A Quick Introduction to Automotive Liability Cases
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) inspects and regulates the automotive industry to ensure that all vehicles meet certain safety standards and requirements. However, it is also up to the manufacturers themselves to make sure that their vehicles meet these requirements.
Of course, this doesn’t always happen, which is why manufacturers are continually forced to issue recalls for faulty and defective parts. The problem is that many of these flaws are only discovered after investigations into tragic accidents eventually reveal the defect. When this happens, the manufacturers may be held liable for any damages that result due to the faulty part. Still, in order for an automotive liability case to proceed, the investigation must first conclusively prove that the accident or injury was a direct result of a defect in a specific part or overall design.
Suing for Damages Due to Faulty Air Bags
When the airbags fail to deploy in an accident, the fault could lie with the manufacturer of the vehicle, the airbag sensors, or the airbag itself. Therefore, it is always necessary to determine exactly what caused the problem as this will reveal which company or companies may be liable. Unfortunately, this generally requires an extensive investigation, which means that automotive liability cases tend to be quite costly.
Nonetheless, these types of cases become much easier when the defect causes numerous problems and eventually leads to a wide recall. In this case, the litigation is much simpler since the manufacturer will have already admitted fault by being forced to issue the recall. This actually happens incredibly frequently, and in fact, the NHTSA notes that record numbers of vehicles continue to be recalled each year.
Still, when this is not the case and a full investigation is necessary, it is usually only worth pursuing a court case when the accident resulted in more severe injuries. If no major injuries were sustained as a result of the airbags failing to deploy, it is generally not worth suing the manufacturer since the damage claim will be minor. Of course, if you or a loved one suffered from serious, traumatic or even fatal injuries as a result of the airbag failure, you have every reason to seek compensation.
Most manufacturers attempt to protect themselves from this type of litigation by not actually making any specific guarantees about exactly when the airbags should deploy.
- Drivers tend to think that their airbag will deploy in any accident, but the actual legal language the manufacturers use tends to avoid making any such claim.
- If you were in an accident and your airbag didn’t deploy when you feel it should have, hiring a car accident lawyer DC trusts is usually the first step towards proving that what you say is true.
- In most cases, a litigation expert will consult with automotive engineers who can confirm that the airbag should have deployed.
- Under certain circumstances, it may not even be necessary to determine the reason that the airbags didn’t deploy. If an engineer can testify that the airbags should have deployed based on the type of accident and your speed, your case will be greatly strengthened and you’ll have a much better chance of being awarded a damage claim.
The size of the damage claim depends on the extent and severity of the resultant injuries and can be quite significant in cases of death. Of course, nothing can ever bring back your loved one or take back any pain and suffering, but at least you can ensure that the manufacturer is held responsible. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to an airbag malfunction, consider contacting a personal injury attorney right away.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into airbag accidents and personal injury cases.