Did Your Airbags Fail? Injury Lawyer Calgary Exposes Who’s Really Responsible

Airbags are crucial safety features in vehicles. They can deploy in under one-tenth of a second, and data from 1987 to 2017 shows that they have saved over 50,000 lives.

But what happens if airbags fail to deploy during a car accident? In the worst scenarios, accident victims may sustain severe injuries, even leading to wrongful death. 

So, who should be held responsible in such cases? The car manufacturer? The airbag company? Or is it due to someone else’s negligence? 

Let’s explore this matter with the help of an injury lawyer Calgary.

Overview About Airbags

Airbags activate during moderate to severe collisions but sometimes even in minor vehicle accidents.

Moderate to severe collisions include hitting a parked car or a fixed barrier between 8-28 mph speeds. When such impacts occur, the airbag’s electronic system sends a signal to inflate.

Types of Airbags

  • Frontal Airbags: Located in the steering wheel and dashboard, which activate during frontal collisions. This shields the driver or passenger’s upper body and head from impact.
  • Side Airbags: Specifically designed for protection during side-impact accidents. They come in two types: head-protecting airbags and neck and chest-protecting airbags.

Causes of Airbag Fails 

Computer Activation Issues
Defects in electrical components can disrupt the system, preventing the airbag from receiving the correct signal to inflate.

Need for Replacement
Airbags should always be replaced after deployment in a crash. Otherwise, they won’t activate in subsequent collisions.

Faulty Crash Sensors
Defects in collision-detecting sensors can prevent airbag deployment, usually caused by design flaws, inaccurate calibration, or improper installation.

Other Airbag Module Failures

If it’s unclear why the airbag failed to deploy, a personal injury lawyer may enlist a third party to inspect the vehicle for potential problems. Airbags might also not deploy if:

  • The motor vehicle detects a child or a small-statured person in the seat, leading the system to deactivate.
  • The car accident was moderate, and the car didn’t detect a necessity for airbag inflation.

Real-Life Case Samples of Airbag Fails

Auto Parts Company ZFTRW, USA

In 2019, NHTSA expressed great concern about more than 12 million airbags manufactured by auto parts company ZFTRW. Their defective airbags were installed in various car models, including:

  • Kia
  • Toyota
  • Mitsubishi
  • Hyundai
  • Honda
  • Fiat Chrysler

Based on the summary report, inside the ACU (Airbag Control Unit) is a component called an ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit), which monitors signals from crash sensors. If the ASIC fails, it may prevent airbags from deploying as required or affect the ACU’s proper functioning. 

The ACU is typically located in the passenger compartment, with electrical wiring connecting the ASIC to sensors at the front of the vehicle. There’s a possibility that a crash event might produce harmful signals on the sensor wiring, damaging the ASIC, although this likelihood seems low. While the ACU has protective circuitry, its level and effectiveness vary among different car manufacturers.

Hyundai vs Shailender Bhatnagar, India

According to a Hindustimes report, the petitioner, Shailender Bhatnagar, informed the court that he purchased a car in August 2015 mainly because it promised airbag deployment for safety. The manual didn’t mention any conditions where airbags wouldn’t deploy, nor did it exempt the manufacturer from liability. In November 2017, when Bhatnagar’s Hyundai car collided with a truck on the Delhi-Panipat highway, the airbag didn’t activate, causing him multiple serious injuries.

General Motors 

Thirteen fatalities have occurred in accidents involving older GM vehicles equipped with faulty ignition switches. In each of these incidents, as well as in others resulting in occupant injuries, the airbags did not deploy despite collisions with trees, guardrails, or other obstacles.

The NHTSA discussed the correlation between airbag performance and ignition position with car manufacturers and suppliers. Based on the findings, the agency intends to take “appropriate action,” although it hasn’t specified the nature of this action.

Who is Responsible for Airbag’s Failure?

The Airbag System or Car Manufacturer? 

The responsibility for airbag failures usually falls on the car or airbag manufacturer. If there’s a defect in the airbag’s design, manufacturing, or quality control, which leads to a failure, the manufacturer can be held responsible. 

Dealerships or Mechanics?

The people or companies responsible for installing and maintaining the airbag can share some accountability. If a mechanic fails to install or repair the airbag properly, which compromises its functionality, they may be held accountable for any subsequent failure. 

Or Driver’s Negligence?

Sometimes, the driver’s actions may cause airbag failures. If a driver operates the car recklessly, their behaviour can be a determining factor. 

Such actions can result in accidents at high speeds or with excessive force, which makes it difficult for airbags to deploy effectively. In these cases, the driver may share a portion of the responsibility.

Should You File a Legal Claim?

Determine who is liable for your car accident. If there is an at-fault party, you have the right to seek fair and just compensation.

If you’ve suffered injuries due to airbag failure, you have grounds to file a personal injury claim. To pursue a successful legal process for a non-deploying airbag, you must prove the following factors:

  • Airbags fail to deploy during a collision of moderate to severe intensity.
  • There was a flaw in the design or manufacturing process of the airbags.
  • You and other passengers suffered additional injuries due to the airbags’ failure to deploy, which has led to damages.

Accident victims and their personal injury lawyers should establish each element with credible evidence, which is crucial for a successful personal injury case. This is also a way to get maximum compensation or a fair settlement for suffered injuries.

Most personal injury lawyers imply that these cases can be intricate, and the airbag manufacturer can vigorously contest your personal injury claims.

Collecting Evidence for a Car Accident Case

At this stage, your legal team must visit the crash site to illustrate how the airbags failed to the court. Aside from legal representation from personal injury lawyers, victims may seek help from engineers, industry experts, or automotive designers to strengthen the case in court.

  • Photographs and videos of the motor vehicle accident scene, the motor vehicle, the expected deployment area of the airbags, and your suffered injuries.
  • Details of expert witnesses to the motor vehicle accident.
  • Documentation of all expenses incurred as a result of your injuries.
  • A comprehensive account of the motor vehicle accident.

How Calgary Personal Injury Lawyers Help

Calgary personal injury lawyers can assist motor vehicle accident victims to the full extent to ensure they are fairly compensated. Here’s how:

Legal ExpertiseAn injury lawyer possesses comprehensive knowledge of personal injury law, including car accident cases. They can navigate the process effectively on behalf of their clients.
Case EvaluationAn injury lawyer evaluates accident details to determine its strengths and weaknesses. They can advise victims on the potential outcomes and whether pursuing legal action is warranted.
InvestigationInjury lawyers in Calgary conduct thorough investigations into car accidents to gather evidence to support personal injury claims. This involves obtaining police reports and interviewing witnesses. 
NegotiationA personal injury lawyer negotiates with the insurance companies involved to ensure the case settles in favor of the victims. It involves settlement for injuries, lost wages, property damage, and other losses from the accident.
Litigation RepresentationIf a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, personal injury lawyers will represent their clients in court. They will seek maximum compensation through personal injury litigation.
Legal GuidanceA personal injury Calgary provides guidance and support throughout the legal process. They explain the rights, options, and obligations to ensure clients make informed decisions about their personal injury cases
Contingency FeesMany injury lawyers Calgary work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive payment if they successfully recover claims or compensation for their clients. This arrangement allows accident victims to access legal counsel without upfront costs.
car accident damage

Seek Justice With a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer 

In the aftermath of car accidents involving airbag failures, an injury lawyer Calgary can provide vital support. They can assist you in navigating personal injury law while offering legal advice and free consultation.

Through diligent evidence gathering and legal consultations, personal injury lawyers ensure you’ll receive fair compensation for your injuries. Reach out to a personal injury law firm, like Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary, for free initial consultation to obtain the compensation you deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What injuries can you get when airbags fail to inflate?

When airbags fail to deploy in a vehicle crash, you may suffer severe injuries.

  • Chest: Chest injuries like broken bones and soft tissue damage can occur.
  • Neck & Back: Forward motion during a crash can cause spinal cord damage, whiplash, and herniated discs.
  • Arms & Legs: Traumatic force can lead to fractures or broken bones in the limbs.
  • Internal Organs: The impact can cause internal bleeding or organ damage.

Face & Head: Impact on the car’s interior can result in concussions, brain injuries, vision damage, and scarring. Airbag malfunctions can also be fatal. You can seek legal recourse with a wrongful death lawyer in such cases.

What damage claims can I collect following an airbag-related accident?

Airbags are meant to keep you safe, so you should receive the highest possible settlement if they fail. Airbag failure can lead to serious personal injury issues. Lawyers can help get a financial settlement for various damages suffered from the accident, including:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Lost wage reimbursement due to missed work
  • Other related out-of-pocket costs 

What’s the average settlement when airbags do not deploy?

There is no standard settlement amount for cases involving non-deploying airbags. Each car accident case presents unique recoverable damages determined by the circumstances of the accident and the injuries sustained by the affected party.

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