Who is Liable When Airbags Fail to Deploy?
Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death and can be a very traumatic experience. In 2018, there were a total of 401,700 traffic accidents in the State of Florida.
In 1995, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started requiring all vehicles to have dual front airbags. Airbags are supposed to safeguard both the driver and front seat passenger in the case of an accident. Although airbags are a very effective protective apparatus, in cases where airbags fail to deploy people often suffer serious injuries or even death.
Reasons Airbags may not Deploy
The activation of an airbag entails various elements, including the speed and direction of the crash, the location of the crash sensor, and airbag system’s overall design. Airbags are not designed to deploy in every instance of impact, such as minor fender-benders, or when a child is sitting in the front right passenger seat.
There are numerous ways that airbags tend to malfunction, including failure to deflate, accidentally deploying, deploying too forceful, exploding, or deploying in a delayed manner.
What if Your Airbag Fails to Deploy and Injures Result?
Both drivers and passengers face serious injuries or death when airbags malfunction.
In cases where the airbag does not deploy or deploys at the wrong time, both the airbag and vehicle manufacturers may face legal liabilities for any related injuries.
Manufacturers can be held strictly liable if their products were defective and injuries result. Strict liability holds the manufacturer liable for damages even in cases they were unaware of the defect.
Although negligence may be harder to prove, if the plaintiff may prove it by showing the following: there was a duty of care owed to the driver or passenger; another party breached the duty of care by handling or manufacturing the airbag; the breach of duty resulted in the suffered injuries; and the plaintiff suffered actual damages.
If the injured person has a direct contractual relationship with the other party, he or she may be able to sue for breach of warranty. This type of lawsuit is rare, but includes an express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability, or implied warranty of fitness.
Safety Tips Regarding Airbags
It is important to keep in mind that airbags were designed for average sized adults. Thus, children under 13 years old or less than five feet tall should not sit in the front seat. Do not place any objects around the airbags that could obstruct the deployment of it or injure you if the airbag engages.
Additionally, refer to your vehicle’s manual to know exactly where your airbags are located. If your airbag warning light is on, take your vehicle to a mechanic or dealer as soon as possible.
Speak to a Car Accident Attorney
Proving automobile product liability claims are often very difficult and complicated. Proving the reason an airbag failed to deploy is complex and requires a team of experts to investigate your vehicle to evaluate why and how the airbag did not work.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a crash due to an airbag malfunction, you may have the right to be compensated for your injuries and suffering. It is important to hire a skilled Clearwater car accident attorney, who is experienced with product liability cases.
The attorneys at Roman & Roman can guide you through the complicated process of litigating an airbag malfunction lawsuit. Contact us online, or call at 877-767-1032, for a free consultation and case evaluation. We have offices in Clearwater, Hudson and Tampa, Florida.