Car accidents happen frequently on Florida’s roadways, and airbags are designed to help protect those involved. The fact is that airbags save lives, but when they don’t work correctly or don’t deploy at all, they leave motorists at increased risk of suffering severe injuries.
If you’ve suffered an injury because your airbags didn’t deploy in an accident, it’s time to consult an experienced Florida auto accident attorney.
Airbags: The Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares the following statistics in relation to airbags:
- In the three decades from 1987 to 2017, front airbags saved more than 50,000 lives.
- In a recent year alone, airbags saved 2,790 lives.
Airbags are a supplemental form of protection that support seatbelts, which take the primary position regarding safety. While airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts, they can significantly reduce the severity of the injuries suffered.
Airbags reduce the risk that motorists and car occupants will strike their heads against the car’s interior in the event of a crash. While airbags are typically designed to deploy in moderate to severe accidents, even a relatively minor accident can cause them to deploy. If your airbag failed to deploy in an accident which it should have, the losses you face as a result could be considerable.
Why Airbags May Not Deploy
NHTSA reports that the primary reasons airbags do not deploy in accidents include the following:
- The conditions involved were not significant enough to require the airbag’s deployment.
- The frontal airbag’s advanced sensing technology detected a small front passenger – or no passenger. It’s important to note that children are especially vulnerable to the impact of airbags and should sit in the backseat until at least the age of 13 for safety’s sake.
- The airbag was not replaced after a prior car accident, such as in a used car.
- The airbag is defective, to begin with.
If you were in a car accident where airbags never deployed, you need a trusted Florida auto accident attorney.
Airbags That Malfunction
Failing to deploy is not the only risk factor when it comes to airbags. In fact, airbags can malfunction in a range of dangerous ways, including:
- Airbags that deploy when they shouldn’t, such as in response to hitting a curb or pothole. The immense power of an airbag inflating can be dangerous in and of itself.
- Airbags that deploy too powerfully can also be dangerous.
- Airbags that deploy after the impact of the accident can further the damage caused significantly.
- In rare instances, airbags can explode, leading to devastating losses.
If you or someone you love suffers an injury from a faulty airbag that either fails to deploy or malfunctions in some other way, the path forward toward fair compensation is challenging, which makes working closely with an attorney paramount.
The Law Surrounding Faulty Airbag Injuries
A range of important laws will guide your faulty airbag case.
Florida’s statute of limitations
The statute of limitations for product liability cases – or the amount of time you are allowed to file a lawsuit in response to a faulty consumer product, such as an airbag – is four years. While it may strike you as ample time to file a claim, the effects of a serious accident can require your undivided attention for far longer than you may realize, which makes having professional legal counsel on your side from the outset well-advised.
In Florida, when someone suffers an injury from a defective consumer good, strict liability applies, meaning that the airbag manufacturer that malfunctions and leaves you injured can be held responsible even if they didn’t know about the product’s defect.
Product defects break down into three basic categories that include:
- Design flaws
- Manufacturing defects
- Inadequate warnings or instructions
These categories of defects play into the matter of negligence in your faulty airbag claim. Consider the following elements that must be present to bring a successful claim against the car manufacturer:
- The manufacturer owed you a duty of care in terms of the product’s safety, which is true in relation to airbags.
- This duty of care was breached, which means the manufacturer engaged in one of the listed forms of negligence.
- This negligence caused you to be injured.
- You suffered losses that are covered by the law as a result.
Your Legal Damages
You can seek compensation for the losses – or legal damages – you experience as a result of the faulty airbag in all the following categories:
- Property damage to your vehicle and its contents
- Your medical bills
- Your lost earnings on the job
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering
Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Florida Auto Product Liability Attorney Today
The practiced Florida attorneys at Eltringham Law Group focus their imposing practice on skillfully guiding complex claims like car accident and airbag deployment injuries toward advantageous outcomes. We’ll support your legal rights to compensation.
For more information about how we can help you, contact us through our website or call us at 561-944-6746 today.
Airbag Injury FAQs
What speed should airbags deploy?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shares that airbags generally deploy for unbelted vehicle occupants at about 10 to 12 mph and about 16 mph for belted occupants – for impact equivalents of crashing into a rigid wall.
Can I skip the seatbelt if I have airbags?
Airbags are designed to work in tandem with your seatbelts and are in no way intended to serve as a substitute. You are safest when you wear your seatbelt correctly and have working airbags in your vehicle.