While airbags in cars, when used in conjunction with seatbelts, can be life-saving devices, they can still result in injuries at the time of deployment. If you have suffered an airbag injury as a consequence of a faulty airbag in a car or other vehicle in which you were driving or a passenger, you may be eligible to claim compensation. In this guide to airbag injury claims, we’ll review what types of injuries airbags can cause, when you could be compensated for them, and how much compensation you could claim.
If you would like to discuss making a claim, we are here to help. Our specially trained advisors offer a no-obligation assessment of your claim where you’ll be given free advice. They’ll also review your chances of being compensated. If the claim has a decent chance of success, they’ll refer you to one of our personal injury solicitors. They will work for you on a No Win No Fee basis if they agree to represent you. That means no upfront payments are needed which, in turn, should make your claim much less stressful.
To talk to us right away about your options, please call us on 0800 6524 881. Alternatively, please read on to find out more about the airbag injury claims process.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make An Airbag Injury Claim?
- Claiming Compensation Against A Manufacturer For Injuries From A Defective Airbag
- Injuries Commonly Caused By Car Airbags
- How Much Compensation For Injuries From An Airbag Could I Claim?
- Proving Fault For An Airbag Injury
- Airbag Injury Claim Time Limits
- Starting The Airbag Injury Compensation Claims Process
The driver and passengers in a car all have a duty of care to each other to behave responsibly. The duty of care with regards to the maintenance of airbags falls fairly and squarely at the feet of the vehicle owner and these should be checked on a regular basis. Even though airbags are not mandatory by law in the UK any issues will be noted as “advisory” when carrying out an MOT. This places an obligation on the owner of the vehicle to put right any defects and where new inflation canisters are required these should be fitted immediately.
The potential route to court for compensation where the driver/owner has failed to maintain airbags in their vehicle, causing injury, is similar to that for any other type of personal injury claim. The situation is slightly different where the airbag has been shown to be defective in design or manufacture. There is also a case for claiming compensation where vehicle repair garages fail to carry out maintenance of airbags during standard checks such as a vehicle service/MOT.
Before our solicitors take an airbag injury claim on, they’ll check whether:
- The defendant breached their duty of care through negligence; and
- A fault with an airbag occurred as a result; and
- You suffered injuries because of the defective airbag.
To help prove how you were injured by the vehicle’s airbag, what went wrong with it, and how you suffered as a result, evidence will need to be supplied. We’ll look at this in more detail later on.
If your airbag failed to operate properly causing you an injury, you could make a claim against the manufacturer. Where a design or manufacturing defect is identified, you won’t need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent as you would for a personal injury claim. Problems that might lead to a defective airbag claim include:
- Design flaws.
- Assembly mistakes.
- Manufacturing errors.
- Incorrect handbook information or warning stickers on how to use the airbag properly.
Please speak to a specialist advisor if you suspect your airbag was faulty and caused your injuries.
The force required to deploy an airbag quickly is created by a small explosive device. This force can sometimes cause injuries even though airbags are designed to reduce the impact of road traffic accidents. Some of those injuries include:
- Bruises or abrasions to the face when the airbag deploys.
- Burns from an airbag if it combusts.
- Eye or respiratory infections caused by the airbag’s propellant.
- Damage to cosmetic implants.
- Heart injuries including aorta ruptures.
- Loss of hearing resulting from the noise of the airbag deploying.
- Fractured or broken bones including broken ribs or sternum fractures.
If you were injured by your car airbag in an accident that was not your fault, we could help you make a compensation claim.
When making an airbag injury claim, you’ll need to work out how you were affected physically and psychologically by the incident (general damages) and if you’ve lost out financially (special damages). No two claims are exactly the same but, in general, you could claim compensation for:
- How much pain and suffering the injuries from the airbag have caused.
- Psychological injuries caused by the airbag accident such as depression, anxiety or even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Lost income if you were unable to work while injured.
- Any loss of enjoyment of hobbies, social activities or family events caused by your injuries.
- The time a loved one, friend or carer spent caring for you if you needed help with normal activities while injured.
- Travel expenses such as public transport fares, parking or fuel costs linked to your treatment.
- Medical and physiotherapy costs. In some cases, this might include private medical treatment.
- Future income loss if your income is likely to be reduced in the future due to your injuries.
- Making changes at home or to your vehicle. For example, a car suitable for wheelchairs or ramps at your home to make it easier for you to deal with any long-term disabilities.
During your airbag injury claim, your solicitor will try to fully determine how you have been affected. They’ll do so to try and ensure everything is included in your claim and to try and make sure you receive the correct level of compensation.
We can’t say exactly how much compensation should be requested until your claim has been assessed by one of our solicitors. However, our compensation calculator provides some potential figures for several of the injuries you could sustain from a defective airbag:
The amount awarded in a successful claim is based on the severity of your injuries. Therefore, you’ll need a medical assessment during your claim. In your appointment, an independent expert will review your medical notes, examine you and talk about how you’ve suffered. They’ll then produce a report for everybody involved in your claim to set out your prognosis.
When looking to prove fault for an airbag injury it is relatively straightforward where it involves already proven faulty/defective airbags. Where an airbag should have been checked and repaired during a visit to a garage there may be a case for claiming compensation against the garage for failure to carry out their duty of care. There have also been issues where airbags have not been correctly maintained by vehicle owners which have unfortunately led to significant injury and in some cases death.
There will be occasions where everything has been done within the power of those involved to ensure the airbags are safe to use. In these situations, it can be difficult to prove negligence and as a result essentially impossible to claim compensation. However, where there is negligence that has resulted in an airbag-related accident and injuries it is advisable to contact our claims advisors or personal injury solicitors for advice.
Generally, personal injury and accident claims have a 3-year time limit in the UK. Mostly, this will start from the date you were injured by the airbag but could begin later if you weren’t immediately aware of your injuries (if you were in a coma for example). Although you do have quite a long time to start your claim, we suggest that it’s better to start early because:
- You’ll find it easier to collect evidence and recall the events leading up to your accident.
- Your solicitor will have enough time to carry out their tasks.
- You may benefit from private medical treatment of your injuries before your claim is settled if the defendant admits liability and agrees to pay an interim payment to cover the cost.
If you’d like to check how long you’ve got left to make an airbag injury claim please call today.
Starting the airbag injury claims process with us couldn’t be easier. Simply call our advisors on 0800 6524 881 for a free review of your case. Whatever happens, you’ll be given free advice and your options will be explained.
If your claim is viable, we’ll connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors right away. That means they won’t need to be paid upfront before they can begin working on your airbag injury claim.