If I was in a wreck and the car was totaled but the no air bags did not deploy, should I sue?

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If I was in a wreck and the car was totaled but the no air bags did not deploy, should I sue?

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Accident Law, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were injured in the accident because the airbags did not deploy, you can sue both the manufacturer and the seller (dealer where you purchased the car) for negligence and strict liability.

Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.  This area of law is products liability.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable manufacturer would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to produce a product that is not defective).  Strict liability is liablilty whether or not due care was exercised.  Both the manufacturer and seller of the car are liable for negligence and strict liability as mentioned above.  The seller is liable even if the seller did not know the airbags were defective.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be compensation for your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering and compensation for wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim should include these items.

Prior to filing your lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for the manufacturer and seller.  If the case is settled with the insurance companies for both the manufacturer and seller, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with either the manufacturer or seller, but not both, only name the party with whom the case did not settle as a defendant in your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier(s), reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If you were not injured in the accident despite the defective airbags, there is no point in filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller because you will recover little or nothing.


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