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Product Liablity » Can I Sue if My Car's Airbag Failed to Deploy in Nevada?
The recent Takata airbag recall has many Nevada car owners concerned.
But too much force is not the only problem associated with airbags.
Sometimes an airbag will fail to deploy when it should, either because of a design defect or because it was not installed properly.
The good news is that Nevada allows plaintiffs to recover for injuries caused by defective products on the basis of “strict liability.”
This means the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent.
Airbags are designed to prevent injury in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal crashes.
When this type of crash occurs, the airbag system’s electronic control unit sends out a signal.
This signal starts a chemical reaction that causes a harmless gas to inflate the frontal airbags in less than 1/20th of a second. Side-impact airbags inflate even more quickly.
Despite their relative success rate, there are a number of scenarios under which airbags can lead to injuries or even wrongful death.
Let us take a quick look at each of these scenarios.
Under Nevada law, companies that design, manufacture, distribute or sell defective products are strictly liable for injuries caused by such defects when the product is used in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
Evidence of similar accidents involving the same product can help establish the existence of a defect.
However, the mere fact that the defendant has issued a recall is not proof of a problem.
Not all body shop personnel are trained in the proper installation of new airbags.
If a body shop (or even a dealer) installs an airbag so that it does not deploy or deploys with too much force, the shop is liable for any resulting injuries.
To be safe, we recommend purchasing a replacement airbag from an authorized dealer and letting them install it.
2.3. Missing or inadequate warning labels
Many car owners dislike these warnings and remove them.
Vehicle manufacturers and repair shops will often try to avoid liability by claiming that a customer used an airbag improperly.
For instance, they may offer testimony to show that a customer ignored or removed an airbag warning.
But Nevada follows a modified comparative negligence standard of liability.
Comparative negligence allows a jury to apportion fault between a plaintiff and one or more defendants.
This means that a plaintiff may still be able to recover damages even if his or her actions or inactions contributed to the injury.
Airbags are not meant to be reused after deployment. Some repair shops cut corners by refolding airbags that have deployed.
If your airbag was replaced by someone other than the vehicle manufacturer, we recommend getting it inspected and, if necessary, replaced.
To do so, contact your vehicle manufacturer’s call center. You can find the number online.
The cost of replacing a reused or counterfeit airbag may be covered by your auto insurer.
Or if you purchased with a credit card or from a website (such as eBay) that offers buyer protection, you may be protected by that program.
For information on airbag recalls, visit the National Highway Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s airbag FAQ page or contact your closest vehicle dealer.
4. What can I do if I was injured by an airbag?
If you were injured when your airbag deployed or because your airbag failed to deploy in Nevada, you may be entitled to considerable money damages. Contact a Nevada PI attorney who understands the complexities of product liability laws to discuss your options.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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