Defective Airbags

Do You Need an Airbag Lawyer? Call for a Free Consultation

Defective airbags can cause serious—and sometimes fatal—injuries. While airbags are supposed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash, airbag defects can cause injuries that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred. Additionally, in some cases, defects can cause airbags to deploy or explode without a collision, and this can create an extremely dangerous scenario that puts drivers and passengers at risk for life-altering (if not life-threatening) consequences.

In all scenarios, recovering just compensation for these accidents starts with hiring a defective airbag lawyer. When defective airbags cause serious and fatal injuries, automotive manufacturers can—and should—be held accountable. At Willis Law Firm Airbag Injury Lawyers, we have decades of experience taking on the automotive manufacturers on behalf of victims and their families. If you have a claim for a defective airbag, we can use this experience to fight for the just compensation you deserve.

Common Airbag Defects

Airbags can suffer from several different types of defects. An airbag is made up of several components, and all of these components can potentially be defective. With this in mind, some examples of potential airbag defects include:

  • Defective airbag design
  • Defective airbag inflators
  • Defective impact sensors
  • Defective ON/OFF sensors
  • Electrical defects
  • Moisture leaks causing explosive consequences
  • Use of corrosive materials
  • Use of dangerous propellants

These types of defects (among others) can present several different risks. For example, some defects can prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. Others can cause airbags to deploy suddenly without a collision—and without warning.  This includes airbags that deploy late or deploy partially. Others still can cause airbags to explode rather than deploy safely, and this can send metal shards and other dangerous fragments like bullets into the faces, eyes and body of the occupants.

Tens of millions of vehicles sold in the United States over the past 25 years have defective airbags manufactured by Takata. Takata airbag defects have proven to be extremely dangerous—reportedly causing hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths.

As explained by Consumer Reports:

 “At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases     has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed         throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly lifesaving device.

  “NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium-nitrate-based propellant without a            chemical drying agent.”

While many defective airbag cases involve airbags manufactured by Takata, these are by no means the only airbags that present risks. We handle cases involving all defective airbags, and we encourage you to contact us regardless of your airbag’s manufacturer. If you don’t know your airbag’s manufacturer (and many people don’t), we can figure this out for you, and then we can determine if you have a claim for just compensation.

Common Accident Scenarios Involving Airbag Defects

Defective airbags can—and do—cause injuries in all types of scenarios. In addition to handling cases involving all types of defective airbags, we also handle cases involving all types of accidents. For example, a defective airbag lawyer at Willis Law Firm Airbag Injury Lawyers can help you if you have a claim involving:

T-Bone Accidents Involving Airbag Failures

T-bone accidents—when one vehicle hits the side of another at a 90-degree angle—can be extremely dangerous. This is due, in part, to the fact that the crumple zones that protect vehicle occupants in head-on and rear-end collisions do not provide protection from the forces involved in these collisions.

But, T-bone accidents can be even more dangerous when a vehicle’s airbags fail to deploy or timely deploy. T-bone accidents involving airbag failures leave drivers and passengers with almost no protection. As a result, severe traumatic injuries are common—from severe fractures in the arms and legs to concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Side Impact Intrusion and Airbag Injuries

Similar to T-bone accidents, accidents involving side impact intrusion also present enhanced risks when a vehicle’s airbags fail. Typically, side impact sensors are supposed to trigger airbag deployment at speeds ranging from 8 mph to 18 mph, and they should deploy within 10 to 20 milliseconds of impact. If a side impact airbag doesn’t deploy, or if it doesn’t deploy as quickly as it should, intrusion into the cabin can put drivers and passengers at risk for numerous types of serious injuries and even death.

Other Common Accident Scenarios

Along with T-bone and side impact accidents, defective airbags can present serious risks for drivers and passengers in other common accident scenarios as well. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Head-On Collisions – Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous of all types of vehicle collisions. Similar to T-bone and side impact accidents, the risks of these accidents are even greater when a vehicle’s airbags fail to properly deploy. These failures can be fatal in many cases; and, even when they aren’t fatal, they will often leave drivers and passengers with severe life-altering injuries.
  • Rear-End Collisions – In a rear-end collision, proper airbag deployment can be critical for protecting drivers and passengers from head impacts. Here, too, improper airbag deployment presents major risks, and anyone who has been injured in a rear-end collision involving an airbag failure should speak with a defective airbag lawyer about their legal rights.
  • Single-Vehicle and Rollover Accidents – Airbag defects present major risks in single-vehicle accidents as well. Regardless of why an accident happens, a vehicle’s airbags should deploy according to the manufacturer’s specifications and all pertinent legal requirements. In a rollover accident, often the side curtain airbags, seat mounted , knee bolster will deploy along with the front driver and passenger airbags to help protect the occupants and prevent ejections and partial ejections from the vehicle during the rollover accident. If a vehicle’s airbags don’t properly deploy during a single-vehicle accident, anyone who is injured as a result of the airbag’s failure may have a claim for just compensation.

FAQs: Filing a Claim with the Help of a Defective Airbag Lawyer

Do Airbags Malfunction?

Yes, airbags do malfunction. In fact, airbag malfunctions are alarmingly common. Currently, more than 60 million vehicles sold in the United States over the past 25 years are subject to recalls due to airbag defects. These defects have the potential to cause vehicles’ airbags to malfunction not only during a collision, but also without a collision in some cases.

These malfunctions primarily result from issues with airbags’ inflator mechanisms. A vehicle’s airbags are only supposed to inflate in the event of a crash that is forceful enough to trigger the vehicle’s crash sensors—and when they inflate, they are supposed to fill quickly but safely. However, airbag inflator malfunctions are causing some vehicles’ airbags to explode violently. While this most often happens during a crash, there have also been reports of malfunctioning airbags exploding without a collision.

Additionally, while inflator explosions are among the most common airbag malfunctions, they are not the only airbag malfunctions that can expose drivers and passengers to significant trauma. Modern vehicles’ airbag systems are extremely complex, and a malfunction at any point in the system can potentially result in serious or fatal injuries. If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a malfunctioning airbag or an airbag that over-inflated with a violent force, you should speak with a defective airbag lawyer about filing a claim.

What is a Defective Airbag?

An airbag is considered defective when the cause of a malfunction exists when the airbag leaves the factory. Airbag defects can result from either faulty design or faulty manufacturing. An example of a faulty design would be specifying the use of materials that are prone to failure over time. An example of a manufacturing defect  would be improperly wiring an airbag at the factory. Airbags can be defective due to numerous other issues as well, and determining the specific reason for an airbag’s failure is a key step when seeking just compensation for airbag-related injuries or an airbag-related death.

Determining the specific cause of an airbag failure requires a prompt and thorough investigation of the entire airbag system by an airbag engineer or expert.. This is one of the most important reasons to speak with a defective airbag lawyer as soon after your (or your loved one’s) accident as possible. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, one of your lawyer’s first priorities will be to preserve the evidence needed to prove your legal rights. This includes any evidence of an airbag defect.

Can You Sue for an Airbag Malfunction?

Yes, you can sue for an airbag malfunction. Automotive manufacturers are required to ensure that their vehicles are properly equipped for the road. If a vehicle’s airbags don’t work, the vehicle isn’t properly equipped, and the manufacturer can (and should) be held accountable.

The first step toward suing for an airbag malfunction is to speak with a defective airbag lawyer as soon as possible. Suing for an airbag malfunction is unlike filing a typical auto insurance claim after a car accident, so it is important to make sure you choose a lawyer who has specific suing automotive manufacturers for vehicle defects. An experienced lawyer will know how to prove your legal rights and will be able to effectively seek just compensation on your behalf.

What is the Average Settlement for Airbags Not Deploying?

An accurate average settlement amount for airbag non-deployment is not available. The airbag and auto manufacturers companies keep their settlements confidential, and there simply isn’t a way of determining a nationwide average airbag non-deployment settlement.

But, even if an average settlement amount was publicly available, it would be irrelevant to the value of your airbag non-deployment claim. When you have an airbag injury claim, you must work with your lawyer to calculate your current and future losses in several categories, including:

  • Medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs
  • Loss of income (including loss of future earning capacity)
  • Emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-financial losses

Your losses in each of these categories are entirely unique to you. As a result, what other claimants have received previously simply doesn’t matter when it comes to assessing your legal rights.

What is the Airbag Lawsuit in 2023?

While numerous lawsuits related to Takata’s defective airbags have been filed over the past several years, in 2023 we also began seeing an increase in claims related to defective airbags manufactured by ARC. Several vehicle manufacturers have recalled vehicles equipped with ARC airbags due to concerns similar to those that led to the massive Takata recalls.

In 2024, we are actively handling claims involving defective airbags manufactured by both of these companies. If you believe that you or a loved one may have suffered injuries due to an airbag failure, you should speak with a defective airbag lawyer promptly. Along with explaining the process for filing a defective airbag lawsuit, your lawyer will also be able to provide an assessment of your claim and walk you through your next steps if you decide to move forward. This costs nothing out of pocket; and, if you have an airbag lawsuit, you will not have to pay anything unless you receive a settlement or verdict.

Talk to a Defective Airbag Lawyer for Free

Are you entitled to financial compensation for losses caused by a defective airbag? To find out, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board-Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years. Call us or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.