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Can You Sue the Car Manufacturer Over Defective Automobile Airbags?

The Carolina Law Group > Blog  > Can You Sue the Car Manufacturer Over Defective Automobile Airbags?

Can You Sue the Car Manufacturer Over Defective Automobile Airbags?

Mitchell Byrd, Attorney, Carolina Law Group, Greenville, SC

Mitchell K. Byrd, Jr. | Attorney

If you or a loved one is injured or killed by an airbag, can you sue? One family is doing just that after Joel Knight was killed last December while driving in Kershaw, South Carolina, when his faulty airbag deployed and caused a large projectile to hit and kill him.

While death sadly does occur from defective airbag deployment – Knight is the tenth death confirmed to be caused by Takata brand airbags – even more common is injury caused by faulty airbags, such as burns, bruises and broken bones. Automobile airbags have saved thousands of lives, but like anything mechanical, they’re subject to errors. When those errors are shown to be the fault of the vehicle manufacturer, the manufacturer can be held liable as a result of negligence under product liability law.

Filing a Lawsuit Over Airbag Injury or Death

If you decide to move forward with a lawsuit against the car manufacturer, you must be able to show that it was manufactured in a way that made the vehicle “unreasonably” dangerous. An airbag not deploying correctly (whether that’s at the wrong time, with too much force, or not at all) can be considered a factor that made the car “unreasonably” dangerous.

You can help your case by showing that the driver was not negligent. Eyewitness reports are valuable, but even better is the data from newer vehicles’ “black boxes.” Like black boxes on an airplane, these devices record operational data, including speed, acceleration, braking and if seatbelts were worn, and can help show that the driver was not behaving negligently.

However, you may not have as strong a case if the manufacturer has issued a recall over airbags for your make and model but you failed to take the car in for repair. Also keep in mind that different makes and models have different circumstances under which airbags deploy, so even if you think they should have deployed in a collision, it may have been designed that way.

Because product liability law can be complex, it’s important to discuss the particulars of your situation with an attorney before deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit.

Check for Recalls

Ideally, you would be alerted of any recalls to your car or its components quickly, as the law requires, but that doesn’t always happen. Check for safety recalls of your vehicle by VIN on this site from the NHTSA. (You can also check with your car’s manufacturer directly to find additional recalls that are not linked with safety)

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney

Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at the Carolina Law Group. The Carolina Law Group has four offices across South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville* (call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer* (call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg* (864.312.4444). Call to schedule your consultation with a local personal injury attorney today.

*Principal Offices

Greenville Office
910 E Washington St
Greenville, SC 29601

Greer Office
210 W Poinsett St
Greer, SC 29650

Spartanburg Office
7612 Asheville Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29303

West Greenville Office
6304 White Horse Rd. Suite B-6
Greenville, SC 29601


Mitchell Byrd received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wofford College in 2000. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2004, where he served on the American Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Journal. He was also an active member of the University of South Carolina Moot Court Bar. Since being sworn into the South Carolina Bar in 2004, Mr. Byrd has focused on litigation, within the criminal justice system as an economics crime prosecutor for the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and also within the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system.

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