There are many standard safety features in cars that are often taken for granted — seat belts, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and airbags, to name a few. You expect them to work while driving and in case of an accident. But sometimes, they fail to do exactly that. As a result, you may experience more severe injuries than you would have had if they worked as intended. One of the safety components that could cause the most damage if they fail to work are the airbags. What can you do if this happens? Can you sue the car manufacturer if they don’t deploy? How much would you be able to sue for? And, if they did deploy, is your car now considered totaled?
Can you sue for airbags not deploying?
Since 1998, all passenger cars have been required to have airbags. Frontal airbags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe collisions. These are defined as crashes that would be the equivalent to hitting a solid, fixed barrier at 14 mph or higher. If they fail to deploy during such an accident, and the reason was due to a defect in the design or manufacturing, the car manufacturer will be held liable for negligence, and you will be able to sue to recover for your economic losses.
How much can you sue for airbags not deploying?
When you sue for negligence, you can request the actual economic damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. These include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Car repairs
- Cost of car rental
- Future medical expenses
These types of damages are collectively known as special damages — meaning you can quantify them by providing documents, such as medical bills, car repair estimates, pay stubs, or anything else that proves you sustained a loss.
In addition to the actual monetary damages, under certain circumstances, you may be able to recover what’s known as general damages — meaning you experience additional losses that don’t have a specific monetary value. These include pain and suffering (such as experiencing scarring or disfigurement) and/or loss of consortium (loss of companionship, affection, and sexual relations with your spouse due to injuries).
In rare instances, you would be able to collect punitive damages. These are designed to punish a car manufacturer who was grossly negligent in the design and/or creation of the motor vehicle.
If the airbags deploy, is the car totaled?
For a car to be considered totaled, the damage to the motor vehicle has to be so substantial, fixing it would be more expensive than buying a new car. This determination is made by an adjuster from your car insurance company. They will come over and inspect your vehicle to conduct an appraisal and figure out the cash value of your car. They’ll take into account the year, make, and model of the motor vehicle, as well as mileage. They will then use this information to compare to other comparable cars in your geographical location. If your car is deemed to be totaled, the insurance company will then offer you a check for the value of the car.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An experienced attorney will know all the questions to ask — as well as know how to move forward. Your lawyer can ask to see medical records and depose (take the sworn statements) the car manufacturer, seller, any mechanics (if applicable), doctors, witnesses, your employer, accident reconstruction experts, and rehabilitation experts who can attest to your ability to perform certain job duties in the future. They’ll ensure to take into account all of your damages when negotiating a settlement or going to trial.
Call Clark Law If You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.