Airbag’s Failure to Deploy, Still Can't Sue

Facts: You get into a car accident and an insurance company instructs you to take your car to some body shop or garage. The damage repair estimate includes replacing the airbags that deployed in the accident. You approve the repair work, and turn the car over to the body shop. Soon you get the call to pick up your car and off you go shepherding the kids to soccer practice or to where you work. Inside the car looks nice and new. One day two years later you are in a second accident and the airbag doesn’t deploy. Your face hits the windshield, your chin the steering wheel and your spine goes into hyperextension and flexion. You may have a ruptured disc and end up having to have surgery to relieve the pain. While in the hospital or under the knife the insurance adjuster totals your car, pays you off, takes possession of the lump of aluminum that is no longer drivable and scraps it. Then you begin to wonder about that airbag because low and behold you just didn’t have enough insurance to cover all your damages. And come to find out neither did the other guy!

So you pick up the phone and call a lawyer to ask, “Can I sue the car manufacturer when my airbag fails to deploy?”

Yes, I understand you were in a real accident. And, yes I agree you were really hurt in the accident.

Well guess what? The answer is “No.”

In most cases the answer will always be no for several reasons. Here is the Big 3 and I am not referring to Ford, GM and Chrysler.

  1. The car had previously been in an accident.
  2. The car had previously been repaired.
  3. The car is no longer available to examine.

It is too late to evaluate the airbag case. And why; because all the evidence has been destroyed.

Unless you bought the car new or have its complete accident and repair history it is virtually impossible to prove why the airbag didn’t deploy. In fact the reason may be because there was no airbag in the airbag compartment. I am being serious; after the first accident the body shop may not have ever replaced the airbag. Maybe they just received payment to do it, but never did the work. After all how would you know until you got into another accident? It is not like there is an airbag gauge in your car that tells you there is an airbag in the compartment where it is supposed to be. It is sort of like a diamond ring. Is that shiny object really a diamond? Can you prove it with an expert opinion? I agree, next time you are in West Glen head over to see Toby Joseph at Joseph's and make sure he bought you a real diamond. 

Insurance companies, following an accident and then the repair work should have some way to check to make sure the car’s airbag has been properly repaired and/or replace. Can you imagine paying to have your airbag replaced and the repair shop takes the insurance money but does nothing? Yeah it happens. It is called fraud and fraud is real. 

NOTE: What is the defect in Takata air bags? 

Takata air bags can inflate with too much force, blowing a metal canister in pieces that sends metal shards at the driver and passengers. At least six peple have died and the causes of their deaths related to this defect. So far the government and the manufacturer have not identifed the causes although high humidity can be a factor.

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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