What if my airbag didn’t deploy at the time of the collision and I was injured as a result?

Could I have a case against the auto manufacturer?

A. Airbags are installed to save lives, but what happens when they don't work? Sometime airbags deploy when they are not supposed to, and occasionally they fail to deploy in the event of a collision, both scenarios can result in serious injuries and sometimes death. Airbag defects can be especially dangerous for smaller adults and children who may be injured by either the excessive force of a defective airbag or by the failure of the airbag to deploy.

Auto manufacturers are bound to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 which was drafted and passed with the intent of "beefing up" occupant crash protection standards to require that future air bags be designed to create less risk of serious air bag-induced injuries than current air bags, particularly for small women and young children; and provide improved frontal crash protection for all occupants, by means that include advanced air bag technology. To achieve these goals, it adds a wide variety of new requirements, test procedures, and injury criteria, using an assortment of new dummies. (NHTSA)

You may have a case, but you will need to discuss liability issues with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Reasons an airbag may be defective:

Power inflators are based on old technology: Dangerously powerful single-force inflators are still used on some cars, even though multi-force inflators have been available to manufacturers for many years.

Faulty Crash Sensors: Bad sensors can trigger an airbag when unnecessary or too late to be effective in a collision.

Faulty inflation path: safe airbags are designed to inflate upward before extending outward. Airbags which cause greater injuries inflate horizontally directly toward driver or passenger.

Lack of internal tethers: Safe airbags include tether straps which cause the bag to inflate more like a flat pillow than a round basketball, which is less damaging to the face, neck, and back.

Lack of Adequate Testing: Testing requirements since 2001 require that the vehicle airbags must be tested on unbelted dummies at required speeds, and dummies of at least two sizes must be used: a 5% female dummy and a 50% male dummy. Standards which seem to enhance safety for a larger person may be very dangerous for one who is smaller.

West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers

If you believe your injuries are the result of faulty airbag deployment, contact our personal injury lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC for a free case evaluation. We have handled hundreds of car accident claims, and would be glad to give you advice in how to best proceed with your insurance claim. Call today: 304-594-1800 or after hours 304-216-6695.

For more information: see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Air+Bags