Car manufacturers are responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure that the vehicles they sell have adequate safety features, including airbags that work. If you were injured because your airbags did not deploy, you may be able to sue multiple parties, including the car manufacturer. A car accident attorney in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, or Austin can help you identify why your airbags didn’t work and who is responsible for covering your damages.
My Car’s Airbag Didn’t Work: Do I Have a Case?
If your car’s airbags deployed at the wrong moment or failed to deploy when they were needed, you most likely have grounds for a product liability case. Product liability is an area of the law that deals with consumer items. Small toys that cause choking, electronic devices that emit sparks, and glassware that shatters in the microwave are all examples of products that could lead to a liability lawsuit.
When cars fail to function properly, the results can be especially dangerous given the high speeds at which they travel and the potential they have to collide with other vehicles. If you were injured in a car accident, recovering financial compensation from the liable party or parties can help you afford the high medical costs you might be facing, especially if you had to miss work while you were in the hospital.
Product Liability Cases
Personal injury cases fall under a number of different categories, including vehicle accidents and product liability. When you need to pursue damages because your airbags failed to deploy in an accident, it is helpful to get the input of a lawyer who has represented clients in both of these types of cases. To establish product liability, a lawyer must be able to show that one or more of the following statements is true:
- The product had a design error that made it dangerous
- The product had a manufacturing error
- The product was issued without sufficient safety warnings
Types of Airbag Injuries
Airbags that function properly save thousands of lives in the U.S. every year, which is why it’s so important to hold car manufacturers responsible for their performance. Most airbag-related injuries occur when an airbag fails to deploy during an accident, leaving the driver and/or the passengers vulnerable to:
- Spinal injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Other injuries
Many of these injuries can be serious enough to cause a wrongful death or permanent disability. Injuries can also occur when the airbag deploys later than it should have or when it deploys unnecessarily at an unexpected moment. Some people have even been injured by an airbag that deployed at the right time but with too much force.
Holding the Manufacturer Accountable
You Do Not Need to Prove Negligence
Many personal injury cases require the plaintiff to prove that their injuries were caused by another party’s negligence. Negligence occurs when one party fails to uphold the duty of care it owes another party. The duty of care varies depending on the type of case. Here are some examples:
- A driver’s obligation to abstain from large amounts of alcohol before getting behind the wheel
- An employer’s responsibility to ensure that the work environment is free of tripping hazards
- The requirement that a surgeon uses sterilized instruments when performing an operation
Car manufacturers are responsible for faulty airbags under Texas’s strict product liability laws, which state that the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence. Rather, the manufacturer is strictly liable for the plaintiff’s damages as long as at least one of the airbags had a defect that caused the plaintiff’s injuries, regardless of how the defect came about.
Increasing the Value of Your Claim
Without the burden of proving negligence, holding the manufacturer liable for your injuries is easier. However, if you can prove negligence, the manufacturer might be held responsible for paying you additional damages. For example, you could show that the manufacturer failed to issue a recall even though they knew that some of their vehicles were sold with faulty airbags.
Which Other Parties Might Be Liable?
To determine who to sue, your lawyer will need to conduct an investigation to determine exactly why the airbags didn’t work properly. Often, expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts, engineers, and product design specialists can give a valuable assessment of the situation.
The investigation results could indicate liability on the part of the product designer. Alternatively, your lawyer might find that the company responsible for testing the airbags committed oversights or that the vehicle’s distributor damaged the airbags while transporting the vehicle. Even if the manufacturer did everything right while producing the airbags themselves, they might have made mistakes with other components of the car that interacted with the airbags.
Which Damages Warrant Compensation?
We rely on our cars for the transportation we need to get to work, uphold family commitments, and accomplish day-to-day tasks. A car accident has the potential to cause an incredible amount of disruption in your life, especially if you were left with serious injuries because your airbags didn’t deploy.
Personal injury law provides a means for injured individuals to hold the liable party accountable for compensating their losses. The types of damages that can be factored into the value of your settlement include:
Medical expenses include any emergency care you received and any long-term treatments you underwent or are currently undergoing. The cost of the diagnostic tests needed to assess your condition is also included in your medical expenses, as are any medications you were prescribed.
While some injuries resolve after a finite course of treatment, others require ongoing medical attention. If you sustained a permanent disability, your lawyer can help you seek compensation for your future medical expenses.
A claimant can seek compensation for lost wages if he or she missed income during his or her recovery period. If your earning potential was reduced due to the accident, you may be able to secure compensation for future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
Personal injury law recognizes that justice is best served when plaintiffs can receive monetary compensation for the physical discomfort they endure due to their injuries, regardless of the fact that pain does not have a pre-established monetary value. Your lawyer can help you determine how much money you can demand given the seriousness and nature of your injuries.
Like physical pain, emotional distress can be compensated monetarily. After an accident, you may experience stress and a sense of loss, especially if your injuries altered your appearance or if you were forced to give up leisure activities that you enjoyed doing. These losses are figured into the value of your claim subjectively.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, or Austin Help?
Faulty airbag cases tend to be more involved than typical car accident cases. Our attorneys are up to the challenge, and will provide expert legal support as you pursue the compensation you deserve. We will take the time to fully understand why the airbag malfunctioned and which parties were responsible. To get in touch with a car accident attorney in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, or Austin, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC.