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Why did my airbags not go off during my accident?

By Ken Gibson on September 9, 2021

If you were involved in a crash and your airbags did not deploy, you may be wondering why they didn’t. Airbags are not designed to deploy in every collision – only in certain types of accidents.

Frontal airbags should deploy in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal wrecks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They may not deploy in rear-end or side-impact collisions.

How do airbags work?

Frontal airbags are designed to reduce the chances of your head or upper body striking the steering wheel, dashboard, or some part of the interior of the vehicle in a collision. In a moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal crash, a signal goes from the system’s electronic control unit to an inflator within the airbag. The inflator contains an igniter, which starts a chemical reaction and produces a gas that inflates the airbag in less than 1/20th of a second. Unless your vehicle has side airbags, you probably cannot expect airbags to deploy in a T-bone (side-impact) accident. Rear-end collisions usually do not trigger airbag deployment.

What are the possible reasons for airbags not to deploy?

When airbags fail to deploy in a crash, there may be several possible reasons, for example:

  • Your vehicle only has frontal airbags, and you were involved in a rear-end, side-impact, or another type of crash that did not trigger deployment.
  • The wreck was not severe enough to warrant airbag deployment. This may be the case in a low-impact collision.
  • Previous owners of the vehicle failed to replace the airbags after they deployed in a crash. Airbags must be replaced once they deploy.
  • A part in the airbag system may be damaged or defective. Defective electrical components, modules, or sensors could prevent airbags from deploying when they should.
  • Advanced frontal and side airbag systems in newer vehicles may deactivate automatically when a child or a small person is seated too close to the airbag.

When is it best for airbags not to deploy?

There is no question that airbags save lives. Because they deploy so rapidly, they can also cause serious injuries if a driver or passenger is sitting too close or comes into direct contact when the airbag first begins to deploy. It may best for airbags not to deploy in minor frontal accidents or, accidents that involve striking a curb, a parking block, or a sign.

Can I still recover compensation if my airbags did not deploy?

If someone else caused your accident and injuries, you can pursue compensation from the responsible party whether or not your airbags deployed. To be compensated for your losses, you will need to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. It is not advisable to deal with the other driver’s insurance company on your own, as the company is in business for profit and does not have your best interests at heart. Your best chance of recovering full and fair compensation is to speak with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney. Our lawyers can:

  • Investigate your crash to determine fault and liability
  • Collect and preserve evidence to support your claim
  • Assess the full extent of your losses related to the accident
  • Negotiate skillfully with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Fight for the compensation you deserve in court, if necessary

Why choose us?

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we seek to embody the spirit of the Marines. As former members of the Marine Corps, Ken Gibson and John Singleton have served their country, and now they are ready to serve you. If you have been injured in a traffic crash through someone else’s negligence, call us at (804) 413-6777 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer. You pay us no fees until we win a recovery for you.

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