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Can I Sue the Manufacturer If My Airbags Fail to Deploy?

Posted by Inna Gorin | Jun 16, 2022

You could file an injury lawsuit if your airbags did not deploy during a car accident. Notably, you might sue multiple parties in such a situation, so you should consult an attorney to learn more about your legal options.

Can I Sue the Manufacturer If My Airbags Fail to Deploy?

While airbags are designed to deploy when accidents occur, there are times when they might not work correctly. Therefore, if your airbags did not deploy and you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you could have legal grounds to sue.

Simply put, in some cases, you may be able to sue the manufacturer if your vehicle's airbag's deployment failure leads to serious injury or death in a wreck.

Depending on the circumstances of the car accident, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit against the airbag's manufacturer and other liable parties. Again, our injury law firm can help you by working on assembling the strongest case possible on your behalf.

While airbags are designed to protect vehicle occupants from the most serious injuries, they don't consistently deliver on that purpose. In fact, sometimes an airbag’s failure to deploy can lead to catastrophic injuries if you're involved in a serious car accident in Los Angeles.  Let's review this topic in more detail below.

What Serious Injuries Are Caused by Airbag Failures?

Regarding proper airbag deployment, the NHTSA states, “…when there is a moderate to severe crash, a signal is sent from the airbag system's electronic control unit to an inflator within the airbag module. An igniter in the inflator starts a chemical reaction that produces a harmless gas, which inflates the airbag within the blink of an eye – or less than 1/20th of a second.”

What Serious Injuries Are Caused by Airbag Failures?

The mechanics required in proper airbag deployment are not fail-proof, and design and manufacturing defects can lead to malfunction.

As provided by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Airbags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle's interior during a crash.

Airbags are designed to protect the most important part of the human body, and when airbags fail to deploy in a car wreck, the injuries are often severe. Airbag deployment failure injuries can include:

These injuries often require emergency room attention and, sometimes, long-term medical care. Those who've suffered severe brain damage because of an airbag failure may be unable to return to work until they fully recover. In addition, the expenses incurred because of an airbag failure are often financially ruinous.

What Are Design and Manufacturing Defects in Airbags?

It is a mistake to assume that design and manufacturing defects originate from the same place. Instead, it would be best to understand that different parties might be responsible for other faults.

Design Defects occur very early on in the design phase of airbag production. A design flaw will cause large-scale issues, resulting in a dangerous product for anyone who drives a car with a defective airbag.

Manufacturing Defects occur later in production when the airbag components are put together. Therefore, manufacturing defects may not universally affect all airbags with the same design, and the defects may be limited to a particular manufacturing plant.

Those injured can sue for an airbag design or a manufacturing defect, but the process is complicated and requires a nuanced understanding of whom to make a claim or claims against. 

What Compensation Can You Seek for Injuries Due to Airbag Failure?

Many factors are considered when determining the value of your defective airbag case. These include the seriousness of your injuries, the cost of medical expenses, the medical treatment you may need to get back to normal after your injuries, and the negative impact your injuries will have on you over the years.

In a lawsuit for airbag manufacturing defects that caused you injuries in Los Angeles, you can sue for compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Property damage;
  • Income loss, past and future;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Wrongful death;
  • Physical disfigurement;
  • Diminished quality of life.

A successful lawsuit against an airbag manufacturer can yield economic relief that helps victims regain their financial and emotional well-being, but proving a manufacturing defect isn't easy.

If you lost a loved one due to an airbag deployment failure in a car accident, you might be able to pursue damages related to their death. This could include funeral expenses and emotional losses to you and your family.

How Can You Prove Liability in a Failed Airbag Case?

While building a case, we must prove, based on evidence, that your airbag did not deploy through no fault of your own. For example, we must prove certain elements to establish your case if it fails to deploy because of a design, manufacturing, or distribution error.

Under strict liability, we don't have to prove that the defendant was negligent but that their product caused your injuries. We have to show the following factors:

  • Your airbag should have opened to keep you safe but failed;
  • The airbag did not open due to a defect or an error;
  • The error was in its manufacturing, design, or distribution;
  • You suffered injuries when the airbag did not deploy as intended;
  • You suffered compensatory damages due to your injuries.

Suppose your airbag was not installed properly or was damaged during a repair. In that case, we will attempt to prove that a party was negligent. But, first, we must establish negligence that will show how the defendant owed you a duty of care but breached it when the airbag was compromised.

Simply put, we have to show that the airbag's condition is why it did not deploy when it was supposed to and how you suffered injuries and damages.

How Can You Prove an Airbag Manufacturing Defect?

In proving your case against an airbag manufacturer for failure to deploy, you must demonstrate that you sustained injuries because the airbag failed when it otherwise should have deployed successfully.

The collision's severity and the extent of your injuries will be essential in proving the airbag default. In addition, if an airbag is recalled after your wreck, that could further prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known of the defect.

How Can You Prove an Airbag Manufacturing Defect?

Suppose your collision occurs after a recall has been issued. In that case, however, you may have difficulty proving the manufacturer's liability for your injuries after you receive notice of the airbag's defective nature.

California imposes strict liability in manufacturing defects, meaning the injured party doesn't have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in causing the fault.

Instead of proving negligence, a successful case will prove that the airbag was defective when it left the manufacturer's possession and that the victim was injured by their reasonable use of it.

You have two years to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a defective airbag under Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. The clock starts running when you experience the injury caused by the airbag. Due to the complicated nature of product liability cases, you shouldn't wait to begin preparing your lawsuit.

How Can Our Law Firm Help You?

When an accident occurs between one or more vehicles, drivers have the right to expect their airbags to deploy right upon impact. As a result, they can save lives by protecting people from hitting the windshield with their heads and flying through it.

Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Injury Justice Law Firm have years of experience fighting for the injured victims of car accidents. Some of our cases have involved airbags that failed to deploy on impact.

We work tirelessly with the at-fault parties, the insurers, and defense lawyers. We can help build your case in the following ways:

  • Investigate what caused the airbags to fail to deploy;
  • Identify parties who could be held liable;
  • Collect evidence that supports your claims;
  • Filling out the paperwork required for your case;
  • Review the liable party's negligence that led to the accident;
  • Handle all the communications between involved parties;
  • Negotiate a potential settlement with the opposing party;
  • Represent you in court if necessary;
  • Keep you updated on the progress of your case.

In cases involving manufacturers or vehicle companies, it often seems overwhelming to consider fighting a major corporation. However, our personal injury lawyers can advocate for you to handle all the arguments against the liable parties.

We will help manage your case and pursue financial compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact us by phone or using the contact form for a free case evaluation.

About the Author

Inna Gorin

Inna Gorin, the founding Partner of Injury Justice Law Firm modeled the Firm after her ideals and principles of what skilled, aggressive and tenacious representation of individual clients should embody. Ms. Gorin's mission is to level the playing field, and provide her clients with the same level...


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