A car accident is a traumatic event—one that our minds often block out so we can’t recall all the details. But if you do remember what happened, you may end up replaying the moments slowly in your mind and wonder whether you could have avoided the accident or how it might have been less devastating. And if your car’s airbags didn’t deploy, you might wonder why and what difference they could have made.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that frontal airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives from 1987 to 2017. But these safety devices don’t always work as they should.
If you or your loved one was involved in a collision where an airbag didn’t deploy, it’s possible that any injuries might have been less severe if the airbag had functioned as intended. You may even be able to show that the airbag’s manufacturer should take responsibility and owe you compensation.
When Should Airbags Deploy?
Airbags aren’t designed to deploy in all car crashes. In fact, it would be dangerous if they did.
Designed to work in conjunction with seat belts, airbags provide supplemental protection and are designed to deploy in moderate to severe crashes. They will activate under certain conditions, depending on factors such as the speed of the collision, the other vehicles involved, the direction of the impact, the location of the crash sensors, and the vehicle’s airbag system design.
When activated, airbags will deploy very rapidly—in less than 1/20th of a second. These inflatable cushions are designed to deploy with great force to soften the impact and then deflate to reduce the risk of suffocation.
Situations where airbags aren’t designed to deploy include minor frontal accidents, T-bones, rollover or rear-end collisions, or accidents where the impact is from a bump or pothole.
Do I Have a Lawsuit If an Airbag Fails to Deploy?
If your vehicle’s airbags didn’t deploy, then you could have a products liability claim against the manufacturer. You would need to prove four things:
- The airbags should have deployed but failed to do so.
- The airbags didn’t deploy because of a defect.
- You suffered injuries because your car’s airbags didn’t deploy.
- Your injuries were caused by the airbags failing to deploy.
The most common reasons airbags don’t deploy as intended include these:
- The airbag didn’t activate because of a computer problem.
- The vehicle’s crash sensors are defective.
- The airbag has design or manufacturing defects.
- The airbag was involved in a previous crash and not replaced.
- A child or small-statured adult was sitting in the vehicle’s front seat.
- The collision was not severe enough.
Sometimes airbags deploy but at the wrong time. This can also cause devastating injuries and be the basis of a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been in an Accident Where an Airbag Didn’t Deploy?
Issues like these are complex. They require experts to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. You will also need a skilled attorney to help you build a strong product liability case against the manufacturer. Hunter & Everage is here to help, with experienced personal injury lawyers in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.