Featured News 2018 Can I Sue a Car Manufacturer When Airbags Fail to Deploy?

Can I Sue a Car Manufacturer When Airbags Fail to Deploy?

When someone purchases a car, there are safety expectations that the purchaser should be able to rely on when he or she gets into a crash. Properly working seatbelts, airbags, and other prevention measures are all necessities made to ensure that the impact of a crash is softened. Airbags are just one of the tools that have saved thousands of lives over the years. In fact, from just 1990 to 2008, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that airbag deployment saved more than 27,000 lives. However, when an airbag does not deploy, a motorist can face severe consequences.

Airbags Are an Expectation in Safety

In this day and age, airbags are a mandated part of every car and truck. Since 1998, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) has been in effect, which requires that all cars and light trucks sold in the United States have an airbag on both sides of the front seat. Due to the ISTEA, a new car should have the safety standard of a deployable airbag in the driver and front passenger seats. Readers should take note that the front seat must have airbags on both sides. Therefore, if a driver's airbag goes off in a crash, but a passenger's airbag does not, then the passenger can pursue a claim against the car manufacturer if they received injuries due to the malfunctioning airbag.

Airbags & Product Liability Claims

The law states that a car must have airbags, but the interpretation of the law is that having airbags means having airbags that work. In product liability cases involving airbags, it is highly unlikely that a car will lack a mandated airbag. However, it is common that during a crash, an airbag does not go off when it reasonably should have. Therefore, while the ISTEA does not specify that an airbag will deploy when a collision occurs, the interpretation of the law is that it will.

Fighting an Airbag Product Liability Case

Product liability cases involving airbags are difficult to win because causation is speculative. The central question in these cases is if the crash that occurred should have deployed an airbag. In some circumstances, such as a head-on collision, an airbag is likely to activate; however, in other scenarios, an airbag may "work as intended" despite its dormancy. Therefore, hiring a practiced car accident lawyer is always advisable in airbag liability claims.

A lawyer will help you gather information such as the following:

  • Speed of the crash when it occurred
  • The point of collision between the two cars
  • The propensity of the vehicle in question to deploy airbags given the circumstances

This information and more will help your case stand in the face of a speculative scenario. For this reason, finding a tried car accident attorney can make all the difference in your case.

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