When Can I Sue for an Airbag Accident?

When Can I Sue for an Airbag Accident?

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When Can I Sue for an Airbag Accident?

Automakers install airbags to protect drivers and passengers against the injuries caused by strong impacts. A deployed airbag can prevent serious head, ribs, and arm injuries. Sometimes, airbags do not deploy upon impact or if they do deploy, they malfunction in some way that causes someone harm. If you sustained injuries because of an airbag accident, you have to answer several questions. One of the most important questions to answer is when can I sue for an airbag accident?

The short answer is anytime after an airbag accident, but the long answer is a little more complicated. Before you file a civil lawsuit to recover the damages caused by a defective airbag, you must gather and organize persuasive evidence and speak to witnesses that verify your version of events. Speaking with an experienced product liability attorney can help you decide when to file a civil lawsuit for an airbag accident. You have to account for the statute of limitations that applies to product liability lawsuits in the state where you reside.

At Morgan & Morgan, we have helped clients recover more than $20 billion in damages over three decades. Our highly-rated team of litigators conducts a thorough investigation to determine which party should assume legal liability for causing your injuries. For some cases, the auto manufacturer must assume responsibility for installing a defective airbag. In other cases, the manufacturer of the airbag shoulders the legal burden for an airbag accident.

Take action today by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the talented litigators from Morgan & Morgan.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is the Airbag Deployment Process?

    The legal counsel that you hire to handle your product liability case should be aware of how the airbag deployment process works.

    Auto manufacturers use a light fabric to design and manufacture airbags that are installed in strategic locations throughout a vehicle, such as the steering wheel and behind the dashboard panel. Many automakers install airbags on the inside of each door to minimize side impacts. Airbags deploy based on signals received from a collision sensor located in your car. A collision must produce an impact that exceeds the minimum threshold set for the sensor. A significant collision such as a head-on crash or an impact while a vehicle travels more than 10 miles per hour represents common minimum thresholds for the sensor to signal an airbag to deploy.

    Airbags deploy at a high rate, usually in 1/20 of a second or up to 200 miles per hour. The speed of deployment can prevent serious injuries and even save someone’s life. Nonetheless, the incredibly fast rate of deployment also can cause severe trauma to the body, especially the head, neck, and ribs. After the first few seconds of deployment, airbags deflate to allow the driver and passengers to move about freely. Deflated airbags release chemicals that can irritate the eyes and skin.

  • How Does a Defective Airbag Produce Injuries?

    After an auto collision, the most common cause of injuries concerns an airbag that does not deploy on time or does not deploy at all. A slower than average rate of deployment means the head and body come too close to the late-deploying airbag. The result is an impact that can severely damage the most vulnerable areas of the body. The airbag itself is usually not the reason for the late or non-existent deployment. Instead, the fault lies with a defective sensor that does not release the airbags upon the impact generated by a vehicle collision.

    A defective sensor also can produce injuries if airbags deploy when there was not a strong impact generated by a collision. An unexpected release of an airbag located in the steering wheel can cause the driver to maneuver the vehicle improperly, which results in an accident. Another sensor-related issue is when a sensor does not release every airbag upon impact.

    A recent class action lawsuit against Ford highlights another cause of the injuries sustained from an airbag accident. Ford installed Takata airbags in some of the automaker’s models. Plaintiffs that filed a class action lawsuit claimed the Takata-installed airbags released debris after the airbags deployed upon impact. One of the lead plaintiffs described the debris as “shrapnel.”

  • What Are the Common Types of Airbag Injuries?

    A faulty airbag can cause a wide variety of injuries, some of which require emergency medical care. One of the most common types of injuries happens when an improperly deployed airbag hits a driver or passenger in the ribs. The result can be bruised ribs that inhibit the ability to breathe. Fractures represent another common type of injury caused by a defective airbag. The areas of the body that are most vulnerable to fractures include the arms, wrists, and collarbone. Head trauma is considered the most serious type of injury, whether it involves a concussion or a brain injury that leaves a victim incapacitated. Minor injuries produced by a faulty airbag include cuts, burns, and abrasions.

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Case?

    Knowing the answer to the question, “when can I sue for an airbag accident” plays an important role in determining the success of a civil lawsuit. Every state has established a statute of limitations for the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. Since a product liability case represents a type of personal injury case, you should follow the statute of limitations set by your state for personal injury cases. Most states have established a statute of limitations for personal injury cases between two and four years, with the range for all states running between one and six years.

    The statute of limitations for your state is simply a timeline for you to refer to when determining whether you have a strong enough case. At Morgan & Morgan, we encourage clients to act with a sense of urgency for two reasons. First, you have financial obligations like costly medical bills. Second, you want to file a civil lawsuit as soon as you can after an airbag accident to ensure witnesses present the most accurate accounts of the accident. If you fail to meet the statute of limitations set for your state, you can expect the court to dismiss your case.

  • How Do I Prepare for a Product Liability Lawsuit?

    Preparing for the filing of a product liability lawsuit is the most significant factor that answers the question, “When can I sue for an airbag accident.” Product liability cases often involve complex legal issues that require the expertise of an attorney who specializes in handling similar cases. Airbag accidents represent one of the most complex types of product liability lawsuits for several reasons.

    Conduct a Comprehensive Investigation
    One of the most time-consuming steps of preparing for a product liability lawsuit concerns your legal counsel conducting a thorough investigation. Your attorney has to collect and organize a considerable amount of evidence, including the design schematic for the defective airbag and/or the improperly functioning sensor. The formal police report is the most important piece of evidence because it includes the physical evidence gathered by law enforcement at the scene of the airbag accident. Your product liability lawyer also interviews witnesses to build a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit.

    Demonstrating Negligence
    Demonstrating negligence starts by showing the party responsible for your injuries has a duty of care to prevent you from getting hurt. Then, your product liability lawyer must prove the other party breached the duty of care to protect you against harm. After proving a breach of duty of care, you have to demonstrate the effective airbag caused your injuries. Finally, you have to show the court records that confirm your financial losses.

  • What is the Product Liability Lawsuit Process?

    The first step in the product liability lawsuit process is for your legal counsel to file the proper paperwork with the clerk of the court. After processing the paperwork, the clerk of the court informs the other party about the lawsuit. You send the defendant a summons and the defendant has between 20 to 20 days to respond to the summons.

    The discovery phase of a product liability lawsuit brings both parties together for an exchange of information. Written discovery involves sending questions to the other party, as well as a request for evidence and legal documents. Oral discovery requires witnesses to provide sworn testimony. Discovery represents the ideal deal step for both parties to negotiate a legal settlement.

    Negotiating a settlement is preferable to spending time and money on a trial. The attorneys representing both parties sit down to discuss reaching common ground. Discovery encourages negotiations because it shows both parties the evidence and witness accounts of the case. Your attorney makes an initial offer that is filed by a counteroffer issued by the other party. Negotiations can go through several rounds of counteroffers before both parties reach a favorable settlement.

    If both sides cannot reach an agreement on compensation, the next phase of a product liability lawsuit is going to trial. If the case involves a jury, selecting jurors can take a considerable amount of time. Opening statements allow each party to present a summary of the case. From there, a civil lawsuit trial can follow several different directions. For example, a judge hearing your case can request that both parties negotiate a settlement with the help of a mediator or arbitrator.

  • Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney

    The most effective way to receive an answer to the question, “When can I sue for an airbag accident” is by meeting with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan. One of the decisions you might have to make concerns the debate whether to file an individual lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit. Most product liability cases impact a large number of consumers. Courts tend to consolidate individual cases that cover the same legal issues in the form of a class action lawsuit. You should note that you cannot expect to receive as much in compensation if you join a class action lawsuit.

    After you meet with one of our personal injury attorneys, you will have enough information to determine whether you should file an airbag accident lawsuit. If you decide to move forward with a civil lawsuit, you should file it as quickly as possible.

    Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the litigators from Morgan & Morgan to take swift action on the filing of a civil lawsuit.

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