If My Airbag Didn’t Deploy, Can I Sue The Car Manufacturer?

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A man having back issues after air bag didn't deploy

Airbags protect drivers and passengers in the event of a collision by providing a critical cushion, reducing the risk of catastrophic injuries and deadly situations. The airbag acts as a barrier between the driver and the steering wheel or door to reduce the risk of a catastrophic injury. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics state that frontal airbags saved 2,790 lives in 2017. 

However, they can also cause serious injuries in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, airbags do not always work properly. When your airbag doesn’t deploy during an accident, you could sustain serious injuries or even die. The manufacturer of the airbag, the car company, or another party could be held liable for damage if the airbag fails to deploy due to a malfunction. In the event of an airbag injury, a car accident lawyer who specializes in those injuries may be able to assist you in seeking compensation.

How do Airbags work?

To comply with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, all U.S. cars manufactured after September 1, 1998, must have front seat airbags. Your airbags should deploy when your vehicle hits another object, such as a car. An airbag gets inflated when a crash occurs as the airbag receives a signal. This signal triggers a chemical reaction that causes the airbag to expand. Within seconds, this process is complete. An airbag protects you from a collision with the steering wheel or glass when inflated.

When are Airbags not Supposed to Deploy?

Airbags may not deploy in a collision for a variety of reasons. For example, a design flaw or safety concern may prevent the airbag’s deployment.

When an accident is minor, airbags are not supposed to deploy. A vehicle’s airbag is only supposed to deploy in cases of collision with a hard object at high speeds. In some collision types, such as a rear-end collision, the airbag may not deploy at all.

The vehicle will not deploy an airbag if a passenger is below a set height and weight in a front or rear seat. It is intended as a safety measure for children. Airbags won’t deploy if they are not switched on or replaced after being deployed in a previous crash.

What Defects Prevent the Deployment of Airbags?

There are several defects that can prevent the deployment of airbags, including:

  • Electrical issues: Airbags are triggered by sensors that detect a collision and send an electrical signal to deploy the airbag. If there is a problem with the wiring or the electrical components, the airbag may not deploy.
  • Manufacturing defects: Airbags are complex mechanical devices that are assembled from a variety of components. If any of these components are defective or not properly assembled, the airbag may not deploy correctly.
  • Sensor malfunction: The sensors that trigger the deployment of the airbag must be carefully calibrated and placed in the correct location in the vehicle. If the sensors are not functioning correctly or are not properly positioned, the airbag may not deploy.
  • Deployment mechanism failure: The mechanism that deploys the airbag must be in good working order for the airbag to deploy correctly. If there is a problem with the deployment mechanism, the airbag may not deploy.
  • Software issues: Modern vehicles often have complex software systems that control the deployment of the airbags. If there is a problem with the software, the airbag may not deploy.

It’s important to note that these defects can be caused by a variety of factors, including manufacturing errors, design flaws, and wear and tear on the vehicle. If you are experiencing issues with your airbags, it’s important to have the problem diagnosed by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to ensure the safety of you and your passengers.

Who is Liable If Your Airbags Do Not Deploy in a Car Accident?

Federal law mandates the presence of airbags in both front seats in every car sold in the United States. Through this procedure, more than 50,000 lives have been saved since 1987. These are designed to serve as an alternative to seatbelts and detach in moderate to severe motor car collisions. Failure to deploy an airbag may be the car’s fault or the airbag manufacturer. We have discussed above other factors that may contribute to an airbag not deploying.

Also Read: Who determines fault in a car accident?

A malfunction could be blamed when none of the above factors applies to your situation. The airbag can also fail to deploy after a moderate to severe accident and deploy too late or accidentally, causing catastrophic injuries.

In the event of injuries sustained in an accident, there are three ways to seek legal recourse against a car or airbag manufacturer – or another third party. Among those are:

Strict Liability

The manufacturer is liable if the product entered the market with a defect. When airbag malfunctions and you are injured, you can file a strict liability claim whether the airbag or the manufacturer caused the defect. Even if the manufacturer was not aware of the product’s problem, the manufacturer is still responsible. 

Some manufacturers recognize that airbags malfunction and issue recall notices to fix the malfunction. When you ignore recall notices and ultimately sue the manufacturer, the manufacturer will accuse you of being partially responsible for your injuries. This raises the issue of comparative negligence.


A negligence claim arises when you prove four elements – duty, breach, causation, and damages. It is the responsibility of every airbag manufacturer to provide reliable airbags. If the airbag does not open in a moderate to severe accident and you suffer injuries because the airbags failed to deploy, these criteria are met. Furthermore, if your vehicle was previously repaired for airbag issues by a mechanic, he may be responsible. 

Breach of Warranty

In a sales contract for acquiring a car, you are covered by three types of warranties.

Express Warranty

It’s vital to read all the terms and conditions of a contract before signing it because these are the terms specifically written into the contract. Because it is the entity with which you have a contractual relationship, these terms apply specifically to your car dealership.

Implied Warranty of Merchantability

These are warranties that the customer might reasonably expect, including all features working on a new or certified pre-owned car. These warranties include warranties from car dealerships, as well as airbag manufacturers.

Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose

These warranties are provided when a buyer asks for a certain type of vehicle to meet a particular requirement, such as driving on rough terrain or having extra traction on wet surfaces. Dealerships or car manufacturers who advertise cars customized to meet your needs are both liable for this if you ask for specific features.

Consider Legal Advice After Being Injured By a Defective Airbag

Liability cases involving automobiles can be difficult to prove. It can be difficult to prove why passengers’ airbags did not deploy. If the airbag failed, you might need to consult an expert to determine how and why the airbag failed.

For help exploring your legal options if a defective airbag has injured you, talk to an experienced product liability lawyer. As they have experience negotiating million-dollar settlements and obtaining verdicts, they can assist you in obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. Perhaps you should file a product liability lawsuit against the company responsible for these flaws.


Financial losses are often associated with airbag injuries and malfunctioning airbags. You may also have to pay for personal care in addition to lost income and medical expenses. You may also experience pain and suffering that is overwhelming. The most common causes for airbag injury claims are negligence, strict responsibility, and breach of warranty.

A lawsuit for an airbag defect has a limited filing deadline. The sooner you contact an attorney like Weston Law Bloomington, the better your chances are of receiving a reasonable settlement for your injury claim.


Contact us for a no-obligations chat about your case.
You can also call us at 612-465-9049 or send us an email at info@westonlawmn.com.