What Is The Average Settlement For Airbags Not Deploying

Beginning in 1995, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration required that all vehicles manufactured have two front airbags. Many car manufacturers include additional airbags, including side, rear-window curtain, knee, far-side and side curtain airbags.

Drivers and passengers rely on airbags to reduce the risk of injuries in collisions, but what if they don’t deploy? Injuries sustained are often more severe, requiring more medical treatments. What is the average settlement in these cases?

How Do Airbags Work?

Airbag systems have three main parts:

  • Bag: made from nylon and folded into steering wheels, doors, dashboards, seats or roof
  • Sensors: sensitive electronic equipment that detects collision forces, the presence of passengers, passenger position and size
  • Inflation system: chemicals combine to create nitrogen gas that inflates the airbag in under 1/20th of a second

Front airbags shouldn’t deploy unless the impact force is equal to or greater than the force of hitting an immovable structure at 8 to 14 mph. Designers intend for drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts, and advanced airbag sensors can adjust the deployment depending on whether seatbelts are in use. These sensors regulate if, when and how much airbags deploy.

Why Would Airbags Fail To Deploy in a Collision?

Airbags that don’t deploy aren’t necessarily defective; there are valid reasons why they don’t, sometimes. The specific details of your vehicle and accident are factors:

  • Your car’s airbag system design
  • The location of your car’s sensors
  • Impact speed
  • Impact direction

Your vehicle’s airbags may not deploy if:

  • A child or smaller adult sits too close to the dashboard or side airbag.
  • The system detects a smaller adult or child in the front passenger seat and automatically turns the passenger airbag off.
  • The impact force is below the deployment threshold.
  • The sensors malfunction, software or electrical components fail or wiring is loose.
  • The airbag is counterfeit, defective or wasn’t replaced after a prior collision.

The NHSTA recently recalled millions of vehicles with defective airbags. These defects may cause airbags to deploy late, too aggressively, when impact thresholds aren’t reached, inflate too much or detach from the vehicle’s structure.

What Is the Average Settlement for Airbags Not Deploying?

There’s no such thing as an average settlement because the circumstances are different for every accident. Settlement amounts depend on several factors, including:

  • The total of your qualifying expenses, such as medical bills, property damage and lost wages
  • The scope and severity of your injuries
  • How significantly your injuries impact your life
  • Whether the airbags failing to deploy caused or worsened your injuries

The damages incurred in two seemingly similar collisions can vary drastically. Your attorney from Cellino Law can tell you how much your case is worth.

Are Non-deploying Airbags Included in a Car Accident Claim?

If someone else hits your vehicle and you sustain injuries, you have a car accident claim. Airbags that don’t deploy mean you also have a product liability claim. Negligence is the basis for most personal injury cases, including car accidents.

Although product liability can include negligence, strict liability usually applies. With strict liability, you don’t have to prove that the guilty party was negligent. You can potentially seek compensation from one or more parties if your airbag didn’t deploy correctly, including:

  • Airbag system designers or manufacturers
  • Distributors
  • Maintenance or repair shops
  • Previous auto owners
  • Vehicle manufacturers

Your attorney from Cellino Law will investigate to determine why the airbag didn’t deploy and who is responsible. To build a valid product liability claim, we will prove that:

  • You didn’t modify the airbags before your collision
  • The airbags or other components in the system were defective
  • The airbags didn’t deploy properly
  • Airbags not deploying directly caused injuries or made other injuries worse

You could try to file a product liability claim without legal assistance, but do you have the resources to conduct a thorough investigation to find the proof you need? Cellino Law is a prominent law firm with several offices in New York. Our investigators have extensive experience gathering evidence.

What Injuries Can You Sustain if Your Airbag Doesn’t Deploy?

When airbags work correctly, they significantly reduce your risk of suffering severe injuries. While you may still sustain some injuries, they likely won’t be as extensive.

Even if you’re wearing your seatbelt, airbags that don’t deploy in moderate to severe collisions can cause a wide range of injuries. The angle and force of impact make some injuries more likely than others in various crashes.

Chest, Neck and Back

When airbags deploy, they keep you from being thrown forward into the steering wheel and dashboard. If your body strikes those structures, you can suffer bruising, soft tissue damage and fractured ribs. The impact can also produce whiplash, sprains, strains, spinal cord damage, and herniated discs in your vertebrae.


Your face can hit the steering wheel, dashboard and windshield. Your nose and other facial bones may break and broken glass can become embedded in your face and scalp. Eye and mouth injuries are common as well. The impact can produce permanent scars, blindness and damaged teeth.


Although they’re not visible, internal injuries can be deadly if physicians don’t find them in time. Fractured ribs, for instance, might puncture your lungs or other organs. You may also have internal bleeding.


Front-seat passengers and drivers don’t have much legroom, and collision impacts can throw their bodies forward. Knees often hit dashboards, and legs and arms may hit doors. These impacts can cause nerve damage, broken bones and torn cartilage or ligaments.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

When unrestrained, your head can hit the steering wheel, door, dashboard, window and windshield. Blunt-force trauma to your head can produce concussions, extreme brain swelling, contusions and other kinds of brain injuries.

What Compensation Can You Receive?

Cellino Law will assess your accident to determine how much your case is worth. Amounts can vary significantly depending on the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life. You likely qualify to receive:

  • Medical expenses: hospital stays, treatments, medications, medical equipment and rehabilitation
  • Property damage: repair or replacement of your vehicle and other personal property that was in your car at the time of your accident
  • Lost wages: the income you lost because you couldn’t work
  • Replacement services: hiring people to do necessary things you’re unable to do because of your injuries

You may be able to seek compensation for future lost wages and medical expenses. Ask your lawyer if you’re eligible.

You might also receive compensation for things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional trauma
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Damaged relationships

Generally speaking, the more severely these conditions impact your life, the more compensation you may receive. Cellino Law will arrange for physicians to examine you and testify on your behalf.

Did Your Airbags Fail To Deploy?

New Yorkers have relied on Cellino Law to handle their personal injury claims for more than 60 years. You can trust us with your car accident and product liability claims too. We will fight to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for your free case review. There’s no obligation, and you won’t pay fees until we win your case. Call us 24/7 at (888) 888-8888 or use our contact request form.



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