If the front airbags of my vehivle did not deploy and someone get hurt, do I have a case to sue the manufactuer?

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If the front airbags of my vehivle did not deploy and someone get hurt, do I have a case to sue the manufactuer?

My SUV rolled and the front air bags did not deploy (the side air bags did) and my son hit the windshield cutting his head pretty bad. Do I have a case?

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Personal Injury, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the manufacturer and also the seller (dealer where you purchased the SUV).  This area of law is products liability.  Your lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller would have separate causes of action (claims) for negligence and strict liability.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable manufacturer would have exercised to produce a product that is not defective).  Strict liability is liability whether or not due care was exercised.  The manufacturer and auto dealer are liable for both negligence and strict liability.  The auto dealer (seller) is liable even if it could not have known the airbag was defective.  If your son is a minor, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem in order to file a lawsuit on his behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit himself.

Prior to filing your lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for the manufacturer and seller.  When your son completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor, obtain his medical bills and medical reports ( I assume your son is a minor and there is no wage loss claim).  Your son's personal injury claim filed with the insurance carriers for the manufacturer and seller should include the medical bills and medical reports.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with both insurance carriers (manufacturer and seller), NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier(s) reject the settlement offers and file your son's lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  If the case is settled with one party's insurance carrier, but not both, only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a defendant in the lawsuit.  If the case is not settled with either party's insurance carrier, name both the manufacturer and seller as defendants in the lawsuit.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file the lawsuit prior to the  expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter.


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