Airbag Didn’t Deploy, Now You’re Injured – Do You Have a Claim?

We had three different readers ask about car accident injuries when an airbag doesn’t deploy on impact as expected. In one such case, LifeFlight picked up the reader’s severely injured father and lifted him to a trauma hospital. In another, the reader lost control while driving and rolled his Pontiac – but the airbag never went off. Another says her life was in jeopardy after the airbag failed to deploy due to the nature of her crash. All three wondered: If multiple mechanics say airbags didn’t deploy like they should, does it mean they have a case? And if yes, then what kind of lawyer should they talk to about claiming a cash settlement?

Step 1: Check Your VIN for a Takata Airbag Recall Notice

Some readers may remember the Takata airbag recall notices that went out starting back in 2015. News programs across the country gave notice that this defective airbag recall impacted tens of millions of American vehicles. In fact, Takata airbags are standard issue in many cars and trucks made within the last 30 years. At the time, the Takata recall included more than 63 million defective airbags in vehicles around the globe, including:

  • Acura
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Daimler
  • Dodge/Ram
  • Ferrari
  • Fisker
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Infiniti
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Lincoln
  • Mazda
  • McLaren
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mercury
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Pontiac
  • Saab
  • Saturn
  • Scion
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen

Then late last year, another Takata airbag recall went out due to the bag’s inflator device exploding or failing to work. The car’s manufacturer is almost irrelevant at this point, but the specific makes for the 2019 Takata airbag recall include:

  • Toyota
  • BMW
  • Audi
  • Honda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Isuzu

There are too many different affected models to type up here. Basically, if you’re driving a car or truck made between 1996 and 2017, it’s worth looking up your VIN to be safe. Many of you got either postcards or letters from dealerships advising you to come in for this airbag recall. But if you drive a used car or never replaced the airbag, this may explain why yours failed to deploy.

Step 2: Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Once you check your vehicle’s VIN to confirm your Takata airbag recall status, consult a personal injury attorney. You can explain what happened and get free legal advice that applies to your situation over the phone. Once you complete your free case evaluation, you can then decide whether you’re ready to move forward with your claim. Most people who wrote in with this question simply wanted to know if they had a case. From your circumstances, I say yes — file a claim whenever a defective airbag injures you or a loved one.

However, a nearby lawyer’s the best person to confirm this based on your state’s laws, filing deadline and accident date. Older recall-impacted cars may qualify for a Takata airbag settlement approved in September 2017. But if the newer, 2019 airbag recall notice applies in your case, it’s unclear whether that settlement covers your injuries. Talking to an attorney about your claim is always free. It’s also important to know that filing a car insurance claim may not cover any or all of your injury costs.

Related: 5 Things an Auto Accident Lawyer Will Do For You

Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.