If Your Air Bag Malfunctioned During Your Car Crash You May Be Eligible For Compensation

Airbags are one of the most crucial safety features in vehicles today, designed to protect passengers during a collision by rapidly inflating to cushion the impact. When functioning correctly, airbags significantly reduce the risk of severe injuries. However, when they fail to deploy or malfunction during a crash, the consequences can be dire, leaving passengers vulnerable to injuries they otherwise might have avoided.

In Florida, where traffic incidents are frequent due to high volumes of vehicles on the road, the proper functioning of airbags is even more critical. Unfortunately, airbag malfunctions are not as rare as one might hope, ranging from non-deployment to faulty deployment that can cause additional injuries. Such malfunctions may not only exacerbate injuries during a car accident but also give rise to eligibility for compensation under Florida’s product liability laws.

This article aims to explore the complexities of airbag malfunctions, outline the legal rights of affected individuals in Florida, and explain how legal assistance can help secure the compensation they deserve. Understanding your rights and the steps to take following an airbag-related incident can make a significant difference in the aftermath of an accident.

If Your Air Bag Malfunctioned During Your Car Crash You May Be Eligible For Compensation

Understanding Airbag Malfunctions

Airbags are engineered to deploy in the event of a significant impact to provide a buffer between passengers and the interior structures of the vehicle, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, and side panels. When they function as intended, airbags reduce the severity of injuries sustained during crashes. However, malfunctioning airbags can fail in several ways, each potentially harmful.

Types of Malfunctions

  • Non-deployment: The most common type of malfunction is the airbag failing to deploy during a crash. This can occur due to sensor errors, electrical issues, or software glitches.
  • Erratic Deployment: In some cases, airbags deploy at inappropriate times or with excessive force, which can itself cause severe injuries, especially if the passenger is too close to the airbag.
  • Defective Components: Faulty manufacturing or design, such as poor quality control or inadequate testing, can lead to airbags that deploy improperly or not at all.

Consequences of Airbag Malfunctions

The consequences of an airbag not functioning correctly can be severe. In the absence of airbag protection, passengers may suffer more serious head and upper body injuries from striking the vehicle’s interior. Erratic deployment can result in facial and eye injuries or even broken bones, which would not have occurred with proper airbag function.

Identifying Malfunctions

Identifying that an airbag has malfunctioned is critical for any subsequent legal claim. Evidence may include:

  • Vehicle damage inconsistent with the severity of the crash.
  • Medical reports detailing injuries typical of airbag failure.
  • Witness statements or dashcam footage showing the accident and the airbag’s behavior.

Understanding these aspects is vital for anyone involved in a crash where airbag performance is questioned. This knowledge not only helps in providing immediate care but also in documenting incidents accurately for potential legal actions.

What are your Legal Rights in Florida Regarding Product Liability?

In Florida, individuals harmed by defective products, including malfunctioning airbags, are protected under product liability laws. These laws allow victims to seek compensation from manufacturers, distributors, or retailers responsible for putting a defective product into the hands of consumers.

Basis for Product Liability Claims in Florida

  • Defective Design: A claim based on defective design alleges that the product was inherently unsafe before it was even made because the design itself was flawed.
  • Manufacturing Defects: This type of claim focuses on issues that occur during the production process, resulting in a product that deviates from its intended design.
  • Failure to Warn: Manufacturers are also required to provide adequate warnings and instructions about the risks associated with using their products. A failure to warn can lead to a liability claim if the lack of information contributes to the user’s injury.

Proving Liability

To succeed in a product liability claim in Florida, a plaintiff must prove that the product was defective, the defect caused the injury, and the product was being used as intended when the injury occurred. For airbag malfunctions, demonstrating these elements typically involves detailed evidence, including expert testimony about the airbag’s design, manufacturing process, and the circumstances of the malfunction.

Statute of Limitations

It’s also important to note that Florida has a specific timeframe within which product liability claims must be filed, known as the statute of limitations. Generally, claims must be filed within four years from the date of the injury. However, in cases where the defect was not immediately obvious, this period may extend under the discovery rule, which allows claims to be filed within a certain period after the injury is or should have been discovered.

Damages Available

Victims of airbag malfunctions may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.

Steps to Take After an Airbag Malfunction

Experiencing a car accident with an airbag malfunction can be overwhelming, but taking systematic steps immediately afterward can significantly impact the outcome of any subsequent legal claim.

Immediate Actions to Take Following an Accident

First and foremost, seek medical attention, even if you do not immediately feel injured. Some injuries, particularly those related to internal organs or the brain, may not be apparent right away. Documenting your medical visit and any treatments received is crucial for your health and any future claims.

Documenting the Incident

Gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. If you are able, take photographs of your vehicle from various angles, highlighting where the airbag should have deployed and any internal damages. Also, capture images of your injuries. If there were witnesses, collect their contact information; their accounts may support your claim about the airbag’s failure.

Consult with an Attorney

Before making any statements to insurance companies or accepting any settlements, consult with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling product liability cases involving airbag malfunctions. An attorney can help you understand your rights and the best steps to pursue compensation.

Preserve the Evidence

It is vital to preserve the vehicle in its post-crash condition as much as possible. Do not repair the car before it is examined by an expert who can assess the airbag system. This expert analysis can be critical in proving your claim that the airbag malfunctioned and contributed to your injuries.

Filing a Claim

With the help of your attorney, you can file a claim against the airbag manufacturer, the car manufacturer, or other responsible parties. Your attorney will manage the legal complexities and ensure that your claim includes all necessary documentation to support your case.

Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. Today

Navigating the legal complexities of a product liability case involving an airbag malfunction requires expertise and a strategic approach. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of Florida law and have a strong track record of advocating for clients who have suffered due to defective products.

Our team specializes in product liability and personal injury cases, providing personalized legal services tailored to each client’s unique situation. We understand the technicalities involved in proving airbag malfunctions and work closely with automotive experts and engineers to build a compelling case.

From the initial consultation to the resolution of your case, we manage every detail, including evidence collection, expert testimonies, and negotiations with manufacturers and insurance companies. Our goal is to relieve clients of the burden so they can focus on their recovery.

At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we are committed to securing the maximum compensation for our clients. This includes not only medical expenses and lost wages but also compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages where applicable. We aggressively pursue all avenues to ensure that our clients receive the justice and financial support they deserve.  Contact Gonzalez & Cartwright today at 561-556-3514 or schedule your free consultation online.

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