If Airbags Did Not Deploy in a Car Accident in Gainesville, FL, Is the Car Company Liable?
Bill Allen | November 16, 2022 | Car Accidents
When airbags work correctly, they save lives in car accidents. The NHTSA reports that frontal airbags saved over 40,000 lives between 1987 and 2017. Frontal airbags have been standard equipment in passenger cars since 1998 and 1999 for vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks.
Airbags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe collisions. The frontal airbags protect the driver and front passenger from slamming into the steering wheel, dashboard, and front windshield. Side airbags can protect occupants from injuries caused by slamming into the vehicle doors and passenger compartment intrusion.
An airbag inflates in less than a second in a crash. A sensor triggers a chemical reaction that inflates the airbag. After deploying, the airbag should deflate to prevent suffocation.
However, what happens if an airbag fails to deploy in a car accident?
Why Do Airbags Fail to Deploy in a Car Accident in Gainesville?
Airbags are not designed to deploy in all types of car accidents. Sometimes, an airbag failing to deploy is an intended response to a specific situation.
For example, airbags do not deploy in minor car crashes or “fender benders.” The impact is not severe enough to trigger the sensor to inflate the airbag.
In low-impact car accidents, the seatbelt typically provides sufficient protection. An airbag inflating could cause more harm because of the potential for airbag injuries.
The airbag might not inflate if no one is sitting in the passenger seat or the person is sitting too close to the airbag. Likewise, some airbags do not deploy if the sensor detects a small child or someone with a small stature is seated in the front seat. Airbags can cause severe injuries to a child or a small-statured person.
Design defects and manufacturing defects are common causes of airbags failing to deploy in car accidents. Malfunctioning and defective airbags fail to protect vehicle occupants during a car accident. The person might sustain catastrophic injuries because there is no cushion to protect from trauma.
Injuries Caused by Airbags Failing to Deploy
Unfortunately, when an airbag fails to deploy during a car accident, the consequences can be catastrophic for the driver and passengers. The airbag failure places the individuals inside the vehicle at a greater risk of severe injuries and wrongful death.
Common injuries that could result because an airbag fails to deploy during a collision include:
- Traumatic brain injuries caused by blunt force trauma from slamming into the door, dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield, including skull fractures, contusions, and concussions
- Chest injuries from slamming into the dashboard or steering wheel, including broken bones
- Facial injuries from hitting the windshield or other objects, including scarring and disfigurement
- Crushing injuries are caused when the driver is pinned between the dashboard and/or steering wheel and the seat
- Spinal fractures and spinal cord injuries
- Arm and leg injuries from being pinned or slamming into the dashboard, steering wheel, and steering column, including damage to the nerves, ligaments, and muscles
- Damage to internal organs, including the liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.
- Neck and shoulder injuries, including whiplash and severe damage to the soft tissues
These injuries can cause severe pain, permanent impairments, and monetary losses. You could be entitled to compensation for your damages under one or more legal causes of action.
Can I Sue if My Airbag Did Not Deploy During a Car Accident?
It depends on the facts of the case. When an airbag fails to deploy, you need to report the incident to the NHTSA as a safety problem. You should also contact a Gainesville car accident attorney for advice. You might be able to sue the manufacturer or other parties for damages.
Filing a Lawsuit Under Product Liability Laws
The airbag designer, airbag manufacturer, vehicle manufacturer, and other parties could be strictly liable for your damages under product liability laws. Parties who design, manufacture, and sell defective products can be liable for damages caused by those products.
Strict liability means the party is liable even if it did not intend to cause an injury. For example, if the product is defective and causes an injury because of the defect, the product manufacturer is liable for damages. Strict liability applies in cases related to a design defect, manufacturing defect, or a failure to warn defect.
Filing a Lawsuit for Negligence
You may also allege liability for a defective airbag under a negligence claim. Establishing negligence requires you to have evidence proving:
- A legal duty of care existed between you and the alleged at-fault party
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care
- The party’s breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injuries
- You sustained damages because of the breach of duty
Negligence claims might apply if the airbag did not deploy because a mechanic or repair shop failed to replace a deployed airbag or negligently damaged the airbag or sensor system. Negligence claims may also be used in product liability claims for defective airbags.
Filing a Breach of Warranty Claim for Malfunctioning Airbags
When an airbag fails to deploy, you could have a breach of warranty claim. Breach of warranty claims can include claims for express warranty and implied warranty. Breach of warranty claims arise when a product does not perform in a certain way.
What Damages Could I Receive if an Airbag Did Not Deploy in a Gainesville Car Accident?
If you prove a cause of action that holds the manufacturer or other party liable for damages, you can receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate you for your financial losses, such as out-of-pocket costs, loss of income, and medical expenses. Non-economic damages compensate you for pain and suffering, impairment, and emotional distress. If you sustain a permanent impairment, you might also receive compensation for future damages, including a decrease in your quality of life and a decrease in future earning capacity.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Defective Airbag?
The statute of limitations for product liability claims in Florida is four years. However, if you file a wrongful death claim, the deadline is just two years from the date of death.
There could be exceptions that change the deadline for filing lawsuits for product liability claims. Therefore, it is wise to speak with a Gainesville personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you miss the filing deadline, you will be unable to recover compensation for the injuries and damages caused by a defective airbag.
Contact a Gainesville car accident lawyer for help pursuing compensation for a defective airbag claim.
Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville car accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471