If the air bags in a vehicle do not deploy, do I have a case?

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If the air bags in a vehicle do not deploy, do I have a case?

I was in a car accident on 7-23-10. The other driver ran a stop sign causing me to hit her. My van has been declared a total loss by the insurance company. My air bags did not deploy. If so what type of lawyer would I retain?

Asked on August 3, 2010 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In an accident where the airbags failed to deploy, you could sue the manufacturer of the vehicle, manufacturer of the airbag (if different from the auto manufacturer) and the dealer who sold you the vehicle for negligence.  This area of law is called products liability.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances).  In this context, it would apply to the manufacturer of the vehicle and airbag and seller of the vehicle to have inspected the airbags to be certain they were functioning properly. 

Your lawsuit for negligence should also include a separate cause of action (claim) for strict liability against the manufacturer and seller.  Strict liability is liability imposed even when due care was exercised by the manufacturer and seller.  The manufacturer and seller are both liable under negligence and strict liability in a products liability case.    

If you were injured in the accident, upon completion of your medical treatment or release from the doctor, obtain your medical bills and medical reports.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  Your damages(the amount of compensation you are seeking in your products liability claim) should include medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, any wage loss. 

If the case is not settled, you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

It would be advisable to speak with an attorney who handles products liability.


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