Injured By A Defective Airbag? Here's What You Need To Know
Airbags are designed to save lives in the event of an accident, but a defective airbag can just as easily cause serious injuries. One major airbag manufacturer is currently under fire for its defective airbags, with over 34 million vehicles potentially affected in the United States alone. If you or a loved one is injured by a defective airbag, you'll need to know how you can be compensated for your injuries.
Criteria for Compensation
The level of compensation you may receive for your injuries depends on a broad range of factors. For starters, your compensation could be determined by the type of collision you were involved in and the severity of your resulting injuries. Being injured by an airbag that's under an ongoing recall could also impact the outcome of your case, as well as the eventual amount of your settlement.
Vehicle maintenance can also play a significant role in how you're compensated for your airbag injuries. If the airbag was not properly serviced according to your manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule, your chances of being properly compensated could decrease. Failure to wear your seatbelt at the time of the crash can also have a negative impact on your potential damages.
Who to Hold Liable
The question of who should be held liable for airbag deployment injuries can be a complicated one, especially since there could be multiple parties involved. The airbag manufacturer could be held directly liable if your injuries were the result of design flaws or underlying defects within the airbag itself. If the airbag was installed improperly by the vehicle manufacturer, then that party could be held liable instead. If the airbag malfunctions after being serviced by your dealer's service department or an independent repair shop, then those parties could be held liable for any injuries that occur.
As you prepare your personal injury claim, your attorney can help you determine which parties should be held liable for injuries resulting from airbag defects.
Class Action vs Individual Lawsuit
In addition to bringing a lawsuit against the responsible party as an individual, you also have the option of filing or joining a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit has its benefits -- the legal fees are significantly lower and plaintiffs can benefit from the stronger negotiating position provided by class action litigation. However, it could take longer to reach a settlement and the settlement amount could be significantly lower than that of a successful individual suit.
If you've suffered significant injuries from your defective airbag deployment, then you may want to file your lawsuit as an individual to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and other damages.
How to Protect Yourself
In spite of the recent controversy surrounding recalled airbags, the overwhelming majority of airbags are safe and effective, especially when they're being used properly. Nevertheless, you'll want to take the following steps to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe at all times:
- Always wear your seatbelt whenever you're operating your vehicle. Airbags are designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts and using one without the other could put you at risk of significant injury.
- Make sure you're seated at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Being seated too close to the airbag could lead to serious injuries.
- Have your children sit in the back seat whenever possible. If they need to ride up front, make sure the seat is pushed as far back as possible and the front passenger airbag is disabled. Children under 1 year old should always ride in the back seat and in the appropriate child safety seat.
As you seek compensation for your airbag deployment injuries, you'll want to make sure your case can stand up to the defense's scrutiny. It's a good idea to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer at your side to guide you throughout your case.