Often, when perspective clients call Mr. Gelb to discuss their particular accident, they will mention that their airbag(s) did not deploy, and that they would like for Mr. Gelb to consider a claim against the automobile manufacturer and/or the airbag manufacturer for the defective product. Mr. Gelb gently informs the caller that if another vehicle caused the accident to occur in the first place, due to their negligence, the claim will have a particular value, regardless of who ultimately pays the claim (the carrier for the other vehicle, the client's own vehicle manufacturer, or the manufacturer of the airbag). Pursuing the manufacturer rarely makes economic sense, and the vehicle would have to be inspected by an engineer and that engineer would have to be willing to testify about the defective product, and the cost for their time would likely be in the thousands of dollars. More often than not, it is advisable to pursue the claim against the at-fault vehicle's automobile insurer.
Naturally, there are situations where a person is injured solely because the air bag deployed when it shouldn't have. This may be due to a design defect, or a manufacturing defect. In either case, if the injuries are significant enough, the vehicle will need to be inspected by one of Mr. Gelb's experts who will be able to state, within a reasonable degree of certainty, what caused the unprompted deployment. Once negligence is determined, Mr. Gelb will send a letter of representation to the manufacturer of the airbag, or potentially of certain components of the airbag, and attempt to resolve the claim amicably. If that is not possible, the case will likely need to be litigated. In certain situations, the client may be limited to resolving the claim via binding arbitration. Please be sure to speak to a personal injury lawyer, such as Roger Gelb, of Gelb & Gelb, P.C., who is experienced in airbag injury claims.