Industry and safety experts believe that airbags when used in conjunction with seatbelts, save lives and reduce serious injuries. However, if you are involved in a road traffic accident caused by somebody else’s negligence, you could still claim for any airbag-related injuries. This article on airbag injury compensation claims will explain when you might have grounds to seek compensation and the types of injuries you could claim for.
The team at ClaimsAction.co.uk is here to support you with the claims process. Firstly, we’ll review your airbag injury claim with you during a free initial consultation. Then we’ll offer free legal advice and explain your options. If your claim appears to have a realistic chance of our success, you could be partnered with a personal injury lawyer from our panel. They’ll manage your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis if it proceeds so you won’t need to pay their legal fees unless you are compensated.
To find out if you have a valid airbag injury compensation claim, please read on or call our team on 0800 652 1345 for your no-obligation consultation.
How do airbags work?
The operation of an airbag is quite straightforward in principle. Sensors around the vehicle are used to detect collisions. If triggered, the sensors tell the airbag to deploy. This sends a hot spark to a small tablet-sized propellant to generate the release of nitrogen and other gases. This inflates the airbag (a fabric sack).
To help avoid injury, the airbag has several holes in it so that it deflates just after impact. If the airbag were to stay inflated, you could bounce off it and injure yourself in other ways. The whole process is over in a fraction of a second.
Airbags are usually found in the steering wheel and passenger side dashboard. In some cars, airbags can be deployed from the side to protect you from banging your head on the car’s windows.
Common injuries from airbags
While airbags are a useful tool for reducing common injuries in road traffic collisions, the way that they deploy can cause secondary injuries themselves. The process of airbag deployment is explosive, noisy and very sudden. As such, in preventing you from sustaining more serious injuries, airbags can result in:
- Burns injuries caused by the combustion of the airbag.
- Bruising and abrasions on the face because of the force of the airbag inflating.
- Eye or respiratory infections caused by contact with the airbag’s chemical propellant.
- Partial hearing loss as a result of the noise made when the airbag deploys.
- Rib fractures, sternum and chest injuries.
- Heart injuries including a ruptured aorta.
- Damage to cosmetic implants.
ROSPA factsheet on airbags
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has released a fact sheet relating to airbags. It highlights some common concerns about airbag safety in relation to:
- Front or rear-facing car seats.
- Pregnant women.
- Driver positioning.
- Shorter lighter drivers.
- Drivers with disabilities.
The factsheet includes several pieces of advice on seatbelt use, driving position and airbag maintenance to try and reduce the risk of injuries caused by airbags.
Can I claim compensation for injuries caused by an airbag?
All drivers have a duty of care towards other road users because of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If you would like to claim for airbag injuries sustained in a road traffic accident (RTA), you’ll need to prove that:
- The other driver breached their duty of care i.e. they were negligent in some way; and
- An accident happened because of that negligence causing the airbag to deploy; and
- You or your passengers were injured because the airbag was deployed (you could also claim for non-airbag injuries too).
Proving negligent driving is the key to winning an airbag injury claim. Examples of when you could be compensated for an airbag injury include any of the following:
- Where another vehicle hits you head-on when overtaking.
- A collision caused by a bus driver distracted by their phone, radio or satnav.
- Car accidents caused by drink or drug driving.
- Collisions resulting from road rage, reckless driving or excessive speed.
- A driver pulling out in front of you or moving into your lane when there wasn’t enough space to do so.
If you believe you should be compensated for an airbag injury, why not call our team to discuss your options for free?
Defective airbag claims
Another reason you may wish to claim compensation is for injuries caused by a defective airbag. One significant difference with this type of claim is that you will not need to prove negligence.
To claim for defective manufacture or design you’ll need to show that the airbag had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused your injuries. Some examples of airbag defects that could allow you to claim include:
- Design flaws.
- Mistakes made during assembly.
- Manufacturing errors.
- A lack of necessary safety warning stickers or instructions in the user manual on correct airbag usage.
It’s fair to say that most personal injury solicitors are not manufacturing or design experts. As such, to help prove that an airbag had a defect that led to your injuries, third-party experts may be used to examine the evidence available. If they determine that something was wrong with the airbag’s design or manufacture, you could have grounds to proceed with a defective product claim.
Airbag injuries to children
Legally, your child cannot start any type of legal action until their 18th birthday. However, as any delay in being compensated could cause your child to suffer further, you are able to apply to become their litigation friend and process the claim on their behalf.
This allows you to instruct a solicitor and make decisions about the claims process on behalf of your child. If the claim is successful, any settlement will be placed in a trust fund once approved but you, as a litigation friend, can ask the court to release funds to cover care costs, medical expenses and other costs that will benefit your child.
How much compensation for airbag injuries can I claim?
If you do go on to make an airbag injury compensation claim, you should carefully consider how your injuries have affected you. As well as claiming for any pain (general damages), you could also recoup any financial losses linked to your injuries (special damages).
If the claim is successful, therefore, you could receive compensation to cover:
- Any physical pain and suffering.
- Distress, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other forms of psychiatric harm.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal activities.
- Replacing personal property damaged during the accident (clothes, jewellery etc).
- Medical expenses including physiotherapy costs.
- Travel costs including alternative travel arrangements.
- The cost of a professional carer or the time of a loved one who supported you.
- Loss of earnings and future losses for longer-term injuries.
- Adaptations to your vehicle or home if you’ve been left disabled following the deployment of your car’s airbag.
If your claim is handled by one of our solicitors, they’ll work hard to fully understand how your airbag injuries have affected you so that they can try to make sure you are fully compensated.
How will my solicitor know how serious my injuries are?
An important part of any personal injury claim is to prove the extent of your injuries. So, your solicitor will book an appointment (usually locally) with an independent medical expert.
During your meeting, your injuries will be examined and the specialist will discuss how you’ve suffered as a result of them. After they have finished, the specialist will write a report about your injuries and prognosis and send it to your solicitor and the defendant’s insurance company. The report will be used to help calculate how much compensation you may be entitled to.
Providing proof for an airbag injury claim
To try and win your claim, you’ll need to prove why the defendant was to blame for your injuries and how serious they were. To do this, it’s vital to try and collect as much proof as possible. This could include:
- Photographic evidence. Pictures of any visible injuries can be a good way of proving how you’ve suffered. Also, pictures of the accident scene can help with road traffic accident claims or pictures inside the car can help with defective airbag compensation claims.
- Medical records. Having your injuries assessed and treated by a medical professional is a much better idea than relying on first aid. If you go on to claim, x-rays and other medical records could be used to prove the extent of any injuries.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor might ask anybody who saw your accident to explain what they saw. This can go some way to validating your version of events.
- Dashcam footage. If your vehicle or any other vehicle that stopped at the scene of your accident was fitted with a dashcam, try to secure any relevant footage as soon as possible.
- Police reports. In cases where the police were called to investigate the cause of your accident (usually when more serious injuries were sustained), their reports could be used to support your claim.
- Financial records. To help claim back any costs or expenses linked to your accident, you should keep hold of any relevant receipts, wage slips or bank statements.
For a free review of any proof you have collected so far, call our team today, or request a callback here.
Time limits for airbag injury compensation claims
You may already know that there is a 3-year time limit for any type of personal injury claim in the UK. For airbag compensation claims, this will usually begin from the date of your accident.
It’s quite a good idea to begin the claims process early for a number of reasons.
- Firstly, it will allow enough time for medical records and supporting proof to be collected.
- Secondly, it could allow you to begin receiving interim payments to cover the cost of private medical treatment or lost earnings before your claim is finalised. This may be possible for claims where the defendant has accepted liability but the impact of your injuries have not yet been identified fully.
If your child has been injured by an airbag, the time limit does not start until their 18th birthday. As such, you could start a claim at any time before that date.
No Win, No Fee claims
We believe that the chances of winning an airbag injury claim increase if you’re represented by a specialist solicitor. We also believe that the amount of compensation you receive could be increased too. However, because some people are put off from claiming with a solicitor because of the risk of losing money on legal fees, our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for any claim they take on.
If you agree to work with one of our solicitors and they agree to represent you, they’ll start working as soon as you’ve signed the No Win, No Fee agreement. That means you won’t need to pay them any legal fees in advance.
During the claims process, your solicitor will manage everything on your behalf. As a result, you won’t need to deal with the defendant or their insurers directly. If the claim doesn’t work out, you won’t have to pay for any of your solicitor’s work.
If there is a positive outcome to the claim, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation payout. This is a fixed percentage of your settlement as listed in your contract which, legally, is capped at 25%.
Start an airbag injury claim today
Our team offer free legal advice on airbag injury compensation claims so call us today on 0800 652 1345 to find out more. Whatever happens, your claim will be reviewed by a specialist and you’ll be advised about your next steps.
If the claim proceeds with one of our solicitors, you’ll know that legal fees will only be payable if you are paid compensation. Knowing that should make your claim a lot less stressful.
To find out more about the airbag injury claims process, please feel free to connect to our live chat service.