Airbag technology has been credited with preventing millions of serious injuries and saving numerous lives. Although airbags are one of the most important safety features of vehicles today, defects in their design or manufacturing could cause them to fail and not deploy during critical moments when they are needed most.
When airbags fail to deploy during a car accident, drivers and passengers have nothing to protect them from severe impacts against a steering wheel, window, or other parts of the vehicle. As such, they face substantial risks of suffering serious and even fatal injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash in which an airbag failed to deploy when it should have done so, you may have the right to pursue compensation for your damages if it can be shown that the airbag failure was cause by a defect. Our legal team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Keen & Littky-Rubin is prepared to thoroughly investigate your situation to not only determine why an airbag failed, but to also hold the responsible party liable for your damages.
There are several reasons why your airbag might not deploy in a crash:
- The nature of the collision – The type of crash that occurred can play a major factor in whether or not airbags are deployed. Depending on where your vehicle was struck, airbag sensors might not have been triggered. This can happen when frontal airbags do not fire in certain types of rollover collisions, or during side or rear impact crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the location of the impact is a better indicator of whether an airbag should have deployed than a vehicle’s speed or the extent of damage it sustained. For example, frontal airbag deployment should be expected in moderate to severe impacts to the front bumper or front corners of your vehicle.
- Airbag sensors were defective – If the impact of a collision should have triggered an airbag to deploy, but it did not, it may be possible that the sensors failed to correctly detect the impact or deploy the airbag. This could be the result of manufacturers that improperly design, test, or install sensors, as well as failures in software or calibration of the airbag firing threshold. In some cases, there may not have been enough airbag sensors to properly detect a crash, which is often the result of overly cost-conscientious manufacturers who place profits over people.
- Defective electrical components – When airbag sensors operate as they should and an impact should have triggered deployment, airbag failures could have been caused by defective electrical components or wiring designed to communicate impact signals to the airbags. When these components are defectively designed or manufactured, or are affected by faulty clock springs in the steering column, failures can occur. This commonly happens in collisions where one or multiple airbags deploy, but another airbag does not.
- Wiring is severed – Researchers have found that airbag failures can occur when manufacturers choose to route wires though areas that make them susceptible to being severed during a crash. When wiring installed in vulnerable areas are damaged or severed, it will prevent impact signals from reaching the airbag module.
- Defects in airbag modules – Defects in the airbag module itself could very well prevent an airbag from firing when it should. There have been cases in which it was determined that impact signals correctly identified a collision and commanded an airbag to deploy, but the airbag module did not respond. This is often the result of inherent design or manufacturing defects, as well as improper quality control protocol.
Airbags may be complex pieces of safety technology, but auto manufacturers have a legal responsibility to ensure they operate as they are intended and as consumers would expect. Generally, your airbags should deploy in any collision in which a driver or passenger would suffer injuries airbags are designed to prevent, including head, neck, and spine injuries.
Lawsuits over defective airbags have proliferated the news in recent years. While many of these defects involve airbags that deployed when they shouldn’t have, or deployed in a defective manner that caused injuries, many others involve preventable injuries or deaths in crashes where the airbag failed to deploy whatsoever. Regardless of what happened in your collision, you can be confident that our caring and highly capable West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers will fully investigate the incident to determine whether an airbag failed to work correctly and if so, how we can help you pursue compensation for your losses.
Since the inception of our firm, we have leveraged over two centuries of combined experience, the expertise of Board Certified attorneys, and a passion for advocating aggressively on behalf of clients to establish a legacy of success in cases involving defective products, including cases against some of the largest automotive manufacturers and distributors in the world. If you would like more information about your potential case and rights, contact us for a free consultation.