Who is Liable When an Airbag Doesn’t Deploy in a Crash?

Who is Liable When an Airbag Doesn’t Deploy in a Crash?


In case of an accident, the airbags in your car are supposed to deploy and effectively shield you and your passengers from the impact caused by the collision. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as sometimes they fail to deploy for several reasons.

Airbags provide cushioning whenever there is a crash. When buying a vehicle, you can choose some of your preferred safety features, however, since 1998, all standard vehicles must be equipped with airbags.

If you or a loved one have recently suffered injuries caused by airbag deployment failure, you may have a case against the car manufacturer, airbag manufacturer, or any other liable party. However, in most cases, victims seek compensation from other involved drivers at the time of the accident.

Do You Have a Case If the Airbags Failed to Deploy?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags save up to 50,000 lives. In case you are wondering who is liable when an airbag doesn’t deploy in a crash, there are several legal options that you can pursue.

After the accident, it is critical to determine who caused the crash. If another driver involved in the crash is found negligent, they are legally responsible for any damage or losses you may incur. You may also seek compensation for any injuries you suffer as a direct result of the accident.

In some states, drivers operate under a no-fault insurance system where car owners must have personal injury protection and property damage liability for no less than $10,000. In case of a crash, the people involved file insurance claims under their own policy regardless of who caused the accident.

Once your coverage is exhausted, you can file a claim against the party that caused the accident for additional compensation.

If your airbags did not deploy as a result of a manufacturing error, the manufacturer may be held liable. You can find out if your car airbags are under recall through NHTSA.

Types of Claims of an Airbag Doesn’t Deploy as a result of a Manufacturing Defect

If your airbags failed to deploy as a result of a manufacturing defect, your claim could fall under one of the following categories:

Design Defect

This occurs when there is a flaw in the design that could result in malfunctions, lifelong injuries, and even fatalities. If your airbag failed to deploy as a result of a design defect, you can file a claim against the manufacturer.

Marketing Defect

Some airbags fail to deploy as a result of a marketing defect where a product may be incorrectly labeled, or warnings and instructions are not provided. This constitutes a marketing defect for which the manufacturer is liable.

Manufacturing Defect

In some cases, the airbag design might be safe but not manufactured to the required specifications. You will have to prove this in court by showing that the manufacturing process was not in accordance with the manufacturer’s design requirements.

To prove liability, you must prove that the airbags should have been deployed in the crash. You must also be able to prove the airbag was defective and that any injuries were a result of the failure of airbag deployment.

Additionally, you will also need to prove that you have suffered emotional, financial, or physical damages as a result of the crash and failure of airbag deployment.

Should your case go to trial, you will need expert witnesses to support your claim. These witnesses can include engineers, survey teams, airbag designers, medical experts, and accident reconstruction experts.

It is important to note that in case a manufacturer released a defective product into the market, you can file a claim for strict liability. This applies even in cases where the manufacturer was not aware of the defect at the time of releasing their product to the market.

However, if the manufacturer issued a recall notice and you failed to heed the notices, they can argue that you were partially responsible for the injuries. In this case, if the court determines you were 60% at fault, you can only recover 40% of your loss.

Causes of Airbag Failure

Airbags can fail to deploy for several reasons. Some common reasons for failure include:

Defective Sensors

Crash sensors in the vehicle detect impact in case of a crash and send electric signals which cause deployment. If the sensors are defective due to improper calibration, installation error, or design error, this can cause failure to deploy.

Electrical Defects

If the electrical components are defective, the crash sensors may not be able to send an airbag deployment signal.

Failure to Replace after an Accident

Airbags should always be replaced if they have deployed after a crash. If left unreplaced, the airbags will not deploy in case of another collision.


In case the airbags in your vehicle fail to deploy, you may suffer severe accident-related damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical costs from related complications, ongoing care and rehabilitation, lost wages, and more

If the airbags fail to deploy, you deserve to get maximum compensation to shield you from these losses. Whether the failure occurred as a result of manufacturer liability or other drivers involved in the crash, we are here to help.


Read More:

5 Common Car Accident Injuries

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