Exploded airbags after car crash

Who Is Liable for a Defective Airbag Injury? 

Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC May 13, 2024

When the rubber meets the road, you expect your car to be a safe mode of transport. Among the many features designed to protect you, airbags are heralded as life-saving technologies.

However, when an airbag fails or, worse, causes an injury, the situation quickly flips from safety to liability. The question then becomes, who is at fault? 

I have been handling defective product cases for over 28 years. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by a defective airbag, call me to secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. I work with clients local to Portland, Oregon, Clackamas County, Washington County, Multnomah County, Marion County, Lincoln County, and Tillamook County. 

What Is Airbag Injury Liability?

The responsibility could potentially rest with the car manufacturer, the airbag maker, or even with you, the driver. To figure out who is responsible, we must look closely at each party involved. 

The Car Manufacturer 

In many cases, the car manufacturer can be held accountable for defective airbags. If it's found that the airbags present in your vehicle were faulty due to a design or manufacturing defect, the onus is on the company to provide reparations. Proving such a defect might require the company's history of recalls, expert testimony, and vehicle safety standards knowledge. 

The Airbag Maker 

Even if the vehicle manufacturer is not at fault, the airbag manufacturer could be. A defective airbag that opens with a dangerous force, if it deploys too quickly or too slowly, or does not deploy at all, can lead to severe injuries. In these cases, it's essential to look at the airbag maker's quality control measures and recall history for similar issues. 

The Driver 

There are situations where the driver may be partially or fully at fault. For instance, if a third-party modification or improper repair was the cause of the defective airbag, the driver's actions could be the root of the issue. Reckless driving or not wearing a seatbelt can also shift the blame to the driver in an airbag injury. 

Comparative Negligence 

Most states handle personal injuries under comparative negligence laws. If the injured party is found partly responsible for the accident or injury, their compensation may be reduced. Therefore, it is important to understand the level of culpability in such cases. 

Proving Liability in a Defective Airbag Case

In the courtroom, the burden of proof lies heavily on the injured party. To hold a party liable for a defective airbag injury, you must establish the following: 

The Defect 

You must document the specific defect in the airbag and how it led to the injury. This often involves expert analysis and consultation. 


You must prove that the defect was the direct cause of the injury. This may involve re-creating the accident and injury to the fullest extent possible. 


Injuries must be severe enough to warrant compensation. You must support your claims with medical records, expert testimony, and lost income data. 

Product Identification 

The specific airbag model that caused the injury must be identified. This can be challenging if the airbag is not attributable to the vehicle model or if it was a third-party replacement. 

Oregon's Defective Airbag Liability Laws

In Oregon, product liability laws governing defective airbags and other products stipulate that manufacturers can be held liable for damages caused by their products if the products were used in a reasonably foreseeable manner when the injury occurred.  

Specifically, under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 30.920, a product liability civil action must be commenced within two years after the date when the injury or damage occurs.  

According to ORS 30.905, there is also a statute of repose that limits product liability claims to ten years from the date of purchase of the product, unless the manufacturer explicitly warrants the product for a longer period.  

However, if the harm caused by a defective airbag was discovered later, Oregon's "discovery rule" may allow the statute of limitations to start from the date the injury was discovered, rather than when it occurred.  

Oregon follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning if an injured party is found to be 51% or more at fault for their injuries, they may be barred from recovering damages in a product liability lawsuit. 

Call Attorney Dylan Lawrence for Legal Help 

Filing a lawsuit after an airbag injury can be tough without an experienced attorney. That's why I'd recommend you reach out to my firm. We're familiar with the ins and outs of product liability and can guide you through the entire process. 

Partnering with me and my team is a big step toward gaining the closure and justice you deserve. Together we can work through the legal maze, making sure those at fault take responsibility. 

Acting swiftly is key as there are time limits, or statutes of limitations, for how long you must file a lawsuit. In Oregon, where I practice, this is two years from the date of the injury. Waiting too long to pursue legal action can result in waiving your right to seek compensation. 

If you're in the Portland, Oregon area and find yourself grappling with the implications of an airbag injury after a car accident, reach out to me for compassionate guidance, a patient ear, and fierce advocacy for your rights.