No, if your airbags deployed, your car is not automatically considered totaled. Whether your car is totaled depends on how much it will cost to repair your vehicle. If the repairs, including replacing the airbag system, cost more than the vehicle is worth, it is typically considered totaled.
Insurance companies determine if a car is totaled, but you can check with a mechanic and a car accident lawyer to verify.
When Is a Car Considered Totaled?
When we talk about how much a car is “worth,” we are generally referring to the vehicle’s fair market value before the accident. A car is considered totaled if the cost of repairs is higher than a certain percentage of the vehicle’s market value.
Factors that can affect whether a car is totaled after airbags deploy include:
- The age of your vehicle at the time of the accident
- All of the repairs needed to return the car to working condition
- Whether the parts are expensive
For example, if your car is 20 years old, you were in a head-on collision, and your repairs include replacing much of the front of your vehicle in addition to the airbag system, your car may be totaled. By contrast, if you have a brand-new vehicle, were rear-ended, and your airbags deployed, your car might still be usable after repairs.
What Does Airbag Deployment Have to Do With a Car Being Totaled?
When an insurance company decides your car is totaled, they pay you for the value of the car before it was involved in an accident. While it’s great to receive what you need to buy a new vehicle, it’s important to consider how your airbags behaved in the crash before you agree to have the car considered totaled.
If your airbags did any of the following, they could have been defective:
- Failed to deploy
- Didn’t deploy correctly
- Deployed too quickly
Defective airbags are grounds for taking legal action with the help of a product liability lawyer to obtain damages from those responsible. Your car is part of the evidence for that case. If the insurer deems your car totaled and pays you for it, you will no longer have access to that evidence. This can jeopardize your chance of getting compensation for airbag injuries.
Possible Airbag Defects That Could Entitle You to Compensation
Airbag systems involve a lot of components, any of which could have been designed, manufactured, or assembled incorrectly. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled Takata airbags due to a design flaw that caused them to explode after too much exposure to high heat or humidity.
Problems can also arise from car maintenance or past repairs. If you were in an accident before, you should have had all deployed airbags replaced with original equipment manufacturer replacements. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that counterfeit airbags come with the risk of releasing shrapnel or failing to deploy at all.
Additionally, the issue could have stemmed from the sensor system and not the airbag itself. As the IIHS explains, airbag systems should trigger once a crash reaches a certain speed and impact threshold. If you were in a high-speed or high-impact accident, and your airbags didn’t deploy, mistakes related to the sensors could be to blame.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Airbags Were Faulty?
You’re not responsible for immediately knowing if an airbag defect caused your injuries. You’re not even expected to automatically know any of the factors that contributed to your accident. Instead, a personal injury lawyer from Ged Lawyers can investigate for you, starting right after the crash, to track down the source of your injuries, including your airbag system.
Although insurance carriers will investigate your crash, they are motivated by the chance to find areas to cut costs. By contrast, the team at our law firm is motivated by the chance to do the opposite—pursue your possible damages. That includes considering whether product failures were at play in your accident.
Even if you don’t have suspicions about how your airbags behaved in your crash, you can still reach out for legal counsel right away. You may not realize what factors played a role. We can hold off having your car considered totaled so that we can collect more information and preserve evidence that could prove pivotal.
Who Is Liable for Faulty Airbags?
Our legal team can investigate any of the following parties for their role in your airbag injuries:
- Product designers
- Airbag manufacturer
- Auto companies
- Car repair shops
- Sellers and dealerships
We might find that more than one party is at fault. If so, our personal injury attorneys can pursue multiple claims or lawsuits to hold each party accountable for their portion of your injuries and damages. We aim to help you secure a fair settlement.
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Car Accident Case?
Any economic and personal losses you experience from a faulty airbag injury are compensable. This can sometimes create confusion for car accident victims who also sustained injuries due to another driver’s negligence. Ged Lawyers can help you determine what losses are eligible for compensation in a defective airbag case. You may recover:
- Past and future medical and rehabilitation bills
- Past and future lost income and reduced ability to earn a living
- Pain and suffering and reduced enjoyment of life
How Do You Deal With Insurance Companies Pressuring to Total Your Car?
You have rights after a car accident, including the right to take time to understand what happened to you. Insurers like to close claims quickly, especially because that sometimes means they can get away with paying you less. Sometimes, they even act in bad faith by unfairly denying claims, rushing to settle unfairly, or bullying you.
If you feel like an insurance company is trying to deem your car totaled despite you wanting to learn more about the role airbags played in your injuries, an attorney from our firm can buy you time to recover while we investigate. You don’t have to put up with the insurer’s rushed timeline. You deserve to have a claim handled fairly and methodically.
Consult Ged Lawyers With Questions About Totaled Cars or Airbags
Our team is available 24/7 to talk to you about your car accident case, providing free consultations to go over the details. You can contact us right away so that we can secure evidence, including what’s in your vehicle. Our auto accident lawyers hold both insurers and negligent parties accountable.