What Are My Rights If I Was Injured By an Airbag in a Car Accident?
The airbags in your car are supposed to protect you when you get in an accident. In fact, that’s the sole reason they exist. Despite this, airbags cause injuries in some cases. Airbag-related trauma can be among accident victims’ most serious injuries—and when this is the case, injuries from airbags can account for a significant portion of accident victims’ losses.
This raises an important question: What are your rights if you were injured by an airbag in a car accident?
Understanding Your Rights When You Suffer Airbag-Related Injuries in a Car Accident
Any time you suffer serious injuries in a car accident, understanding your legal rights starts with understanding the cause of your injuries. When you suffer injuries due to an airbag’s deployment, this raises two key questions:
- Who (or what) caused your car accident?
- Was the airbag that injured you defective?
1. Determining the Cause of Your Car Accident
The first thing you need to know is who (or what) caused your car accident. There are several possibilities, and as long as you are not primarily responsible for causing the collision, you are entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault party under Pennsylvania law.
In many cases, the at-fault party will be the driver who hit you. If you got hit by a negligent driver, the driver is responsible for your injuries regardless of whether they resulted from your airbag, your steering wheel, your seatbelt, broken glass, or any other part of your vehicle.
Likewise, if another party is responsible for the accident (such as a negligent dealership or repair shop), this party is liable regardless of how you got injured in the collision. Recovering your losses will typically involve dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and to recover the compensation you deserve, you will need to work closely with your lawyer to document all of the costs (both financial and non-financial) of your airbag-related injuries.
2. Determining if Your Airbag was Defective
But, in some scenarios, filing a claim against the party that is responsible for your car accident won’t be your only option. This could be the case if the airbag that injured you was defective.
Airbag defects are a very common concern. Millions of vehicles from most major manufacturers are currently subject to airbag recalls. So many vehicles are subject to these recalls that manufacturers are having to prioritize which vehicles get repaired first—and it will likely take years for some vehicle owners to get their turn.
If the airbag that injured you was defective, you may have a claim against the airbag manufacturer or your vehicle’s manufacturer in addition to a claim against the party that caused your car accident. This is important—because airbag and vehicle manufacturers have much higher insurance limits than individual drivers. So, if a negligent driver caused your car accident and his or her insurance does not fully cover your accident-related injuries, you may still be able to recover full compensation—if your airbag was defective.
How can you determine if your airbag was defective (and whether the defect is responsible for your injuries)? Just like determining the cause of your car accident, determining the cause of your injuries requires a thorough investigation. When you engage a law firm to represent you, your law firm will examine the available evidence to determine which claim (or claims) to file on your behalf.
Protecting Your Legal Rights if You Suffered Airbag-Related Injuries in Pennsylvania
If you have suffered airbag-related injuries in a car accident, there are some important steps you should take to protect your legal rights. Whether you have an auto insurance claim, an airbag defect claim or both, taking these steps will help ensure that you are able to recover the financial compensation you deserve:
Take Detailed Notes About the Accident
Take some time to take detailed notes about the accident. Write down everything you can remember. Which way were you traveling (or were you stopped)? Which way was the other vehicle traveling? If the accident happened at an intersection, who had the right of way? Did the other driver say anything after the accident? How were the traffic and road conditions? All of these are important facts that will assist your lawyer in assessing your legal rights.
Take Photos of Your Vehicle, Including Your Airbag (if Possible)
If you have access to your vehicle, you should take lots of photos. This includes both photos of the exterior and photos of the interior where your airbag deployed. If your vehicle is already at a repair shop or dealership, ask the shop or dealership to take photos to send you before it starts working on your vehicle.
Take Care of Your Airbag-Related Injuries
After a serious car accident, taking care of your injuries should always be your top priority. But this is especially true when you suffer a concussion or other head injury due to an airbag’s deployment or explosion. Taking care of yourself will not only help you recover as fully as possible, but it will also help with asserting your legal rights.
Engage a Law Firm to Investigate the Accident
You will want to engage a law firm promptly to investigate both the cause of the accident and the specific cause of your injuries. After investigating, your law firm will be able to determine if you are limited to dealing with insurance companies or if you have a claim for an airbag defect. To ensure that your law firm is able to collect as much information as possible, you should get started with a free initial consultation promptly.
Contact Us for a Free Initial Consultation
If you need to know more about your legal rights after suffering airbag-related injuries in a car accident, we encourage you to get in touch. To discuss your legal rights with a lawyer at our offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton or Stroudsburg, please call 888-777-7098 or send us a message online today.