Drivers and passengers count on car airbags to provide safety should an accident occur. When airbags do not deploy during an accident, vehicle occupants are often left with more serious injuries than they would have experienced if the airbags had worked properly.
If your airbag did not deploy when you were in a car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC. You may be entitled to a significant financial settlement.
Are Registered Vehicles Required to Have Working Airbags?
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), front airbags were not a vehicle safety requirement until the late 1990s. Though not required by law, most cars also include side airbags. As airbag technology continues to improve, more cars now include rear-window curtain airbags and far-side airbags.
These features work to protect back-seat passengers if hit from behind and vehicle occupants from side crashes, respectively. Airbags have proven effective in preventing car accident fatalities. According to the NHTSA, 50,457 lives were saved from 1987 to 2017 thanks to frontal airbags.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) declares airbags have been an extremely important safety innovation in the past few decades, leading to:
- A 29% decrease in driver deaths
- A 32% decrease in passenger deaths from front-on accidents
- A 52% decrease in drivers’ risk of death in side-impact collisions (when side airbags are present).
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Can I Sue if My Airbags Didn’t Deploy in a Car Accident?
Drivers and passengers naturally expect their airbags to work in the event of an accident. If the airbag fails, you may be able to sue the responsible parties for compensation. It is best to have a personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC manage your case. Your attorney will investigate your case to determine who the responsible party is.
Though it may seem like the car manufacturer is the obvious at-fault party, and they may be, that is not always the case. For example, the airbag designer, manufacturer, or distributor could be at fault as could the parties responsible for inspecting, testing, and/or installing the airbag.
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What Do I Have to Prove to Receive a Settlement?
As with any personal injury case, you have to prove negligence in an airbag malfunction case. Your lawyer will build a case that shows:
- Your airbag should have deployed, but did not.
- A flaw in the airbag’s design, manufacture, distribution, installation, or another aspect out of your control caused the malfunction.
- That malfunction caused your injuries.
- Your injuries caused you quantifiable damage.
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Why Should I Have a Lawyer Manage My Case?
First, your lawyer will help you determine who should be held responsible for the airbag failure. An experienced lawyer knows who to consult, such as engineers or other experts, who can find the cause of the malfunction. The cause could be anything from a tear in the airbag’s material to improper wiring to non-working sensors to a variety of other possibilities.
Next, your lawyer will collect thorough evidence to support your claim, a process that takes time and knowledge of the legal system. For example, you may need to access photos or videos from privately owned surveillance cameras or from witnesses. Your lawyer will also collect all relevant medical information, including the costs you have incurred and your prognosis.
Your lawyer will prepare and submit all required documentation with accuracy and efficiency, and according to the statute of limitations. If you fail to file before the legal deadline, your case will be dismissed. Your lawyer will make sure that doesn’t happen.
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What Damages Can I Pursue?
Every case is different. The amount of the financial award your lawyer pursues will depend on how serious your injuries are and how they will affect your life going forward, who is at fault, the suffering you have endured, and other factors. In most personal injury cases, however, compensation is sought for:
- Medical expenses, including those you will need in the future, as related to your injuries.
- Economic losses, including lost wages or salary, and future lost income if you cannot return to your job.
- Physical pain and emotional distress caused by your injuries.
- Loss to your quality of life, should your injuries prevent you from engaging in activities or moving through your daily life as you did prior to the accident.
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Will I Have to Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases settle out of court. Your lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC knows what you deserve and will not accept lowball offers.
Responsible parties want to pay as little compensation as possible and sometimes resort to intimidation tactics to convince you to accept far less than you deserve. Your lawyer brings legal expertise to those negotiations and will not be bullied into accepting unreasonable settlements.
If the responsible party refuses to make a reasonable offer, you may choose to go to trial. Your lawyer will advise you as to the best course of action and provide excellent representation at all trial proceedings.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive in a Settlement?
There is no set “average” amount you can expect to see in a settlement as every case is unique. After thoroughly evaluating your situation, your lawyer will fight for a settlement that recovers your financial losses and brings future financial relief, while also accounting for your emotional suffering and providing a sense of justice.
Victims see significantly higher success rates for receiving a settlement, and significantly higher amounts for those settlements when personal injury lawyers handled negotiations and litigation.
How Do I Schedule a Consultation with an Attorney?
It is best to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Scheduling the meeting is simple, and the consultation is free. Go to the Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC contact page and call or leave an electronic message. We will respond promptly and give your case the attention it deserves.