My Airbags Didn’t Deploy, Can I Sue?

A close-up of a steering wheel with the words, can I sue for faulty airbags?

Safety features have become more advanced in the car industry. From backup cameras to lane assistance, car designers and manufacturers have made safety one of the highest priorities in their designs. But despite all of these safety features, accidents will still occur.

When you are in an accident, you expect to be protected by the airbags and seatbelts. Some of the oldest safety technologies in cars, these were designed to lessen the strain on the human body in an accident. However, if the airbags fail to deploy, the injuries that you sustain from the accident can be far worse—leaving you to foot the medical bill.

Can you sue for a faulty airbag? In this article, the dedicated team of car accident and product liability attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. take a deeper look into the mechanics behind an airbag and whether or not a lawsuit could help you.

How Do Airbags Work?

Airbags were created to reduce the chances of an individual sustaining serious head injuries during an accident. They act as a cushion for your head and neck during the forward movement of the impact. This prevents your head from making contact with the steering wheel or dashboard.

Airbags work using small explosive charges and sensors. When you are in an accident, the accelerometer in the airbag detects speed changes. If the changes in your speed are over your normal braking speed, the airbag circuit will trigger. The circuit passes an electrical current through the airbag’s heating element, which ignites a chemical explosive. The explosion creates a harmless gas that rushes into the nylon bag. The bag inflates rapidly, catching and cushioning the forward movement of the driver or passenger’s head and neck. As soon as the head of the individual hits the airbag, the airbag begins to deflate as the gas escapes through small holes around the edges of the bag. As the vehicle comes to a complete stop, the bag will completely deflate.

What if My Airbag Didn’t Deploy?

front end car wreck damage

It is important to remember that your airbag will not deploy for every accident. For example, if you were sitting at a stoplight and your car was struck from behind, it’s likely that the airbag will not deploy because there were no drastic changes in your car’s speed. While this may seem dangerous, it is done by design to protect you. In minor accidents, an airbag can cause more harm than good.

However, if you suffered serious injuries in a high-speed accident, forward-motion collision, or sideswipe collision because your airbags didn’t deploy, you may have a product liability claim.

Common Reasons Airbags Don’t Deploy

Despite being one of the most essential safety features in a vehicle, not all airbags will deploy when they are supposed to. This could be due to a wide range of problems regarding the airbag itself or the vehicle. Here are some of the most common reasons why an airbag fails:

  • There is a hole, tear, or rip in the airbag.
  • A malfunctioning sensor fails to signal the bag to be released on impact.
  • There was a flaw in the design or manufacturing of the airbag, causing it not to work properly.
  • The airbag was aged.
  • The airbag hadn’t been replaced in an older vehicle after an accident.
  • There were electrical problems.
  • The wiring was either done poorly or went bad.

What Are Some Common Injuries That Come From Airbag Malfunctions?

If an individual is in a car accident that would normally cause the airbags to deploy and they fail to, this can lead to serious injuries as there is nothing to cushion the driver during the impact. Another way an airbag fails to perform properly is if they explode, either with an accident or outside of an accident due to a defect.

Common injuries that individuals have sustained due to faulty airbags include:

Who Would Be Responsible for My Injuries and Damages?

A woman is holding her neck after a car accident.

In product liability cases, there are a few different parties that could be financially responsible for your injuries.

  • The manufacturer of the airbag or the auto manufacturer may be responsible for damages if the defect was caused during the manufacturing process or if another faulty part of the vehicle resulted in the airbags not deploying properly.
  • The airbag designers may be responsible if there was a design flaw that would cause the airbag to malfunction.
  • Installers and testers may be responsible if the product was not installed properly or if proper testing wasn’t performed before the airbags were released for public use.
  • Product distributors may be responsible if there was evidence of careless transport or storage of the car or parts that resulted in the airbag becoming defective.

Evidence in a Faulty Airbag Product Liability Case

A few factors must be proven to have a successful lawsuit for an airbag product liability case:

  • The airbags were defective. To prove this, you may need an expert to test the airbags for defects such as faulty sensors or bad electrical components.
  • The airbag should have been deployed. Again, not all accidents will result in airbag deployment. Expert testimony and details of your accident must show that the airbags should have deployed but didn’t.
  • There was no alteration to the airbag. It must be proven that you or another individual in your household did not tamper with the airbags and that the airbag is still within its usable lifespan.
  • You suffered serious injuries because the airbags didn’t deploy. A medical expert must show that your injuries could have been lessened or non-existent had the airbag deployed as designed.

Contact Our Arlington Personal Injury Attorneys

Branch & Dhillon, P.C. is dedicated to ensuring that individuals who were injured in an accident due to another individual’s negligence can claim the compensation they deserve. This includes cases of product liability.

Our team of dedicated attorneys can help prove that your injuries could have been avoided had the product been properly tested, installed, or manufactured. Our team is a no-fee, no-win law firm, meaning that if we do not win your case, you do not owe us a dime. Contact Branch & Dhillon, P.C. today to see why we are Arlington, Texas’s most trusted law firm.

Faulty Airbag Liability FAQs

What Evidence Can I Use to Show That the Airbag Was Faulty?

When you bring your claim to our team, we will do a thorough investigation to determine what went wrong and who is responsible for your injury and damages. These pieces of information can help aid in the investigation and your case:

  • Photos from the collision
  • Photos of the airbag, which may show how it was defective
  • Video footage from a dashcam
  • Photos of the injuries you sustained
  • An account of how your injuries have limited or even eliminated specific activities from your daily life
  • Medical records and treatment plans for your injuries
  • Police reports
  • Eye-witness accounts

Who Counts As an Expert Witness In a Faulty Airbag Case?

An expert witness is an individual who is an expert in their field of work or study. They can testify about how the crash occurred or how the airbag was supposed to perform but failed to. They may also show how the airbag’s failure to deploy properly caused your injuries. For a faulty airbag case, expert witnesses may include:

  • Engineers
  • Product Designers
  • Survey Teams
  • Accident Reconstruction Specialists
  • Medical Experts

Additional Resources: