Drivers and passengers depend on airbags to provide protection in the event of an accident. Should you experience a car accident during which your airbag fails to deploy, you are likely to face far more serious injuries.
If you have been injured in this way, consult with a lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer will evaluate your case and fight for the compensation you are entitled to and that you need to recover.
How Do Airbags Protect Drivers and Passengers?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “Airbags are one of the most important safety innovations of recent decades.” Their statistics show front airbags have decreased driver deaths by 29% and front-seat passenger deaths by 32% in front-impact accidents. Side airbags provide head protection in driver-side crashes and have decreased drivers’ risk of death by 52%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports frontal airbags alone saved 50,457 lives between 1987 and 2017.
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Do Airbags Require Maintenance?
There is generally no maintenance required for airbags until or unless they deploy during an accident. Following deployment, for the replacement to occur at a repair shop using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
The use of OEM parts confirms the new bag is not counterfeit. Counterfeit bags are dangerous often failing to deploy or releasing shrapnel upon deployment.
Are All Vehicles Required to Have Airbags?
Any vehicle manufactured from 1999 on must have a front airbag. Side airbags are not mandated but most manufacturers include them to meet federal safety standards. Since the IHHS began crash testing side airbags in 2003, showing the vital protection they offer passengers, vehicles that earn good ratings include side bags
Airbag technology is ever-evolving. Some cars now feature rear-window curtain airbags, far side airbags, sunroof airbags to stop passengers from ejecting during a rollover accident, inflatable seatbelts, and seat cushion airbags, among other innovations. Even some models of Honda motorcycles are airbag-equipped.
What drivers and passengers want most from their vehicles is safety. When you purchase a vehicle will airbag protection, you have the right to hold at-fault parties responsible when that protection fails.
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What Is the Average Settlement for Airbags Not Deploying?
Every settlement is different. The amount of a settlement depends on the severity of your injuries, the medical costs incurred by your injuries, how the consequences of your injuries affect your life and ability to earn money, who is at fault for your injuries, and your pain and suffering, among other factors. Your lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC will investigate all aspects of your case and use that information to determine the value of a fair settlement.
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What Compensation Can I Pursue?
The compensation you can pursue also depends on the specifics of your accident and injuries. In general, for personal injury cases you can pursue the following:
- Coverage for all medical costs and interventions related to your injury
- Compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by your injuries
- Restoration of lost wages and lost future wages should your injuries prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity as before your accident
- Repair or replacement of property damaged because of the airbag malfunction
- Financial recognition of your diminished quality of life
Why Do Airbags Fail to Deploy?
Airbags can malfunction for a variety of reasons, and investigating the reasons are important to your case. By determining the cause of the malfunction, you determine who is responsible for it. Among other reasons, airbags may fail because of
- A hole or rip in the material
- A flaw in its design
- A flaw in its manufacture
- A malfunction in the sensor that signals the bag to release
- A flaw in the sensors registering seat occupants.
- Electrical or wiring problems
- Failure to actually install the device in the vehicle
- Age–newer vehicles generally do not require airbag replacement. Some older model cars suggest replacing airbags as part of the car’s regular maintenance.
Additionally, your airbag may fail if your accident is low-impact. In newer vehicles, airbag release depends on a seatbelt sensor and algorithm. The IIHS states a vehicle must be moving at a rate of speed of 10-12 miles per hour (mph) for airbags to deploy when the driver and front-seat passengers are wearing seat belts. If occupants are not wearing seatbelts, the speed required for airbag release is nearer to 16 mph.
Who Is Responsible for a Malfunctioning Airbag?
Determining who is responsible for an airbag malfunction can be complicated. For example, if you bought your vehicle from its previous owner and do not know details of the vehicle’s history, it could be difficult to hold the airbag or car manufacturer responsible for the malfunction.
However, if you bought the used vehicle from a dealership, it is easier to hold the dealership or their inspection process accountable as it is expected that the dealership has access to the car’s accident history, which should be disclosed to buyers, and that they are providing you with a safe, working, pre-owned vehicle. Similarly, if you bought a brand new vehicle from a dealership, the expectation of purchasing a perfectly functioning vehicle is part of the deal.
Whatever your situation, your lawyer will know how to untangle the possibilities and hold at-fault parties responsible.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Receive a Settlement?
You are more likely to receive a settlement with a legal expert from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC managing your case. Your lawyer knows
- What evidence to collect: including photos and videos of the accident scene and your vehicle with its failed airbag, medical reports, reports from relevant experts (engineers, for example)
- How to collect evidence: interviewing witnesses and caregivers, accessing surveillance video, etc.
- How to prepare and file all required legal documentation within the statute of limitations.
- How to negotiate with at-fault parties.
Responsible parties do not want to pay settlements and will often offer extremely low financial awards, claiming that is the most you can expect, or may even use unethical means to deny or deflect responsibility. Your lawyer will not be swayed by these tactics and will fight to ensure you receive fair and just compensation.
If the responsible parties refuse to make a reasonable offer, your lawyer will represent you at trial.
How Do I Speak with a Lawyer About My Airbag Case?
It is easy and free to consult with a personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC. Visit our contact page to call or send a message, and we will respond promptly. Your lawyer will keep you informed of your case’s progress each step of the way and work to secure you the highest financial award possible.