Airbag Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an airbag injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an airbag injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
airbag injury compensation:
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) recommend that airbags, when used with seatbelts, are an effective secondary measure to protect drivers and car passengers.
Although evidence suggests that airbags can significantly reduce the likelihood of serious injury, an airbag can still give rise to injury when it deploys. Even if the airbag has protected you from worse harm, you may still be able to claim compensation for airbag-related injuries.
Common airbag injuries
Because an airbag needs to inflate very quickly to protect passengers from impact, the process of deploying the bag is sudden and explosive. The force needed to deploy the airbag can cause injury.
Injury claims include:
- Respiratory and eye infections from the propellant used to inflate the airbag
- Burns from combustion of the airbag
- Facial bruising and abrasions from the force of airbag deployment
- Hearing loss as a result of noise from the explosive
- Broken bones from bracing against panel as airbag deploys
- Chest injuries from speed of deployment including rib and sternum fractures
- Rupture of aorta and other heart injuries
- Damaged cosmetic implants
If you have been injured as a result of a defective airbag, including where the mechanism failed to properly deploy in an accident, you may be able to make a defective product compensation claim.
If the airbag is found to be defective in design or manufacture, the injured party does not need to prove negligence, as this would fall under strict liability law.
To claim compensation for a defective airbag, the injured party must supply evidence that proves the airbag contained an 'unreasonably dangerous' defect that resulted in harm. A defect might include:
- A flaw in design
- A mistake made during manufacturing
- A mistake made during assembly
- A mistake in assembly
- Failure by the manufacturer to provide necessary warning labels or directions in the vehicle user manual for safe and correct airbag use.
Claiming compensation for airbag injuries
In order to make a claim, another party must be legally responsible for the accident.
This party could be the person responsible for the car crash, the car manufacturer, or the manufacturer of the airbag if the equipment is found to be faulty.
Do I have an airbag injury claim?
You should be able to make an airbag injury claim if your injury happened:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
What if the road accident was my fault?
If you think you were partly responsible for the road accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.
In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.
For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.
What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?
If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).
The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an airbag injury claim on their own behalf.
Can I make an airbag injury claim right up to the three-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on an airbag injury claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.
What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?
A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.
Low value airbag injury claims - Updated June 2021
The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.
From 31 May 2021, some lower-value airbag injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice’s new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.
If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.
Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.
The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.
No Win, No Fee compensation for low value airbag injury claims
Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.
The amount of money you could claim for your airbag injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your airbag injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an airbag injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.
General damages for a serious chest injury can be £40,000
For a more minor arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.
However, if you have a serious chest injury and a more minor arm injury, you would typically receive £40,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.
What is the average injury compensation for an airbag injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an airbag injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your airbag injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Calculate my airbag injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an airbag injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your airbag injury claim could be worth now:
How long does an airbag injury claim take?
The length of time needed to settle an airbag injury claim can vary significantly.
For instance, a straightforward liability accepted road accident claim could be settled in a month or two. If the defendant denies liability, it could take longer. Typically, a road accident claim should take 4 to 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your airbag injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
No win, no fee - the facts
With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an airbag injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my airbag injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my airbag injury claim?
If your airbag injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Airbag injury FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an airbag injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the airbag injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your airbag injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an airbag injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim airbag injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.