Visitor Question

Can a defective automobile air bag limit my injury compensation?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Hagerstown, Maryland)

A front end auto collision occurred on January, 2018 with a party who ran a red light, in the state of Maryland, that resulted in injuries. The injuries were the result of both the collision and also to the delayed air bag deployment.

Can the other party’s insurance company then limit their compensation to me based on the fact that the defective air bag also contributed to the injuries?

The insurance company has already told me that my car was a salvaged vehicle. But neither my DMV car title nor my Carfax vehicle report claims that it was a salvaged vehicle. Further, the Carfax report claims an accident free car history for my 2007 Ford Mustang that has less than 100,000 miles on it.

What can I do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

There is no Maryland law addressing the criteria which must be used by insurance companies in the compensation process. Barring illegality, an insurance company can limit their compensation offer for any reason they want.

Whether they base their decision on delayed airbag deployment, or other factors, they can make any offer which they believe is in the best interests of their insurance company and its shareholders, despite what any victim believes is fair.

Because of the discrepancy concerning the title to your 2007 Mustang’s possible salvage status, and the apparent failure of the DMV or Carfax to discover and list the car as Salvage, your best interests would be served by seeking the counsel of several local personal injury attorneys. The liability issues in a case like this are too complicated for you to handle on your own.

If it can be shown the DMV or Carfax purposely, or negligently failed to list the car as salvage,  you may have the basis of a civil claim against them. This of course presumes the car is actually salvage and the misrepresentation was known to Carfax and/or the DMV, or that they should have known of the salvage status of the Mustang.

Alternatively, if the insurance company’s claims adjuster is knowingly misrepresenting that the car was a salvage when it in fact was not, they would likely be dealing in bad faith. An attorney would be able to sort this out quickly, and if the adjuster is dealing in bad faith, the attorney may be able to pursue punitive damages.

Learn more here: Defective Car Parts and Accessories

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim.

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