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Honda Civic airbags did not deploy | possible damages against Honda?

by Mike B.
(Blount County Alabama)

after being pulled from creek

after being pulled from creek

Single car accident Feb. 4, 2009. 2003 Honda Civic EX Coupe w/ 132k miles ran into bridge guardrail, down embankment, stopped with front tires and bumper in creek.

The 8' section of guardrail that was moved 90 degrees did almost all of the damage, smashing the radiator against the engine and crumpling the hood. Sheriff’s deputy who took the report and the tow truck operator both stated that in their opinion the airbags should have activated.

The drivers stomach and chest are sore from hitting the steering wheel. Also bruised above the eye from hitting rearview mirror or sunvisor.

We purchased this car used from a Honda dealer last year with a 30 day warr. Carfax provided by dealer showed no prior damage. We have not yet heard from the adjuster.

Any advice regarding failure of the airbags to function? How will this affect the repair cost and the future value? If it is totaled how do we negotiate a fair value.

This car was in great shape inside and out. No problems at all and 3 week old tires. The engine was left running during and 45 minutes after the accident!

The car went far enough into the water for the horn to get filled. Would this fresh water cause future problems?


Hello Mike, Thanks for the picture.

You have several issues. We will answer one by one.

1. Airbag issue: You have a possible claim against Honda for a manufacture’s defect (under product’s liability law).

Most states have a statute of limitations for product’s liability claims like this one (called a statute of repose). This statute basically bars any claim against the manufacture of a product after certain amount of time (i.e. 4 years). Depends on how old your case is, this might or might not be a claim you can make. You need to contact an attorney to help you with that. Visit: to get a free consultation in your local city.

2. Total Loss: Your car is a total loss. Damage is simply to extensive (per your explanation) with relatively high mileage 132K, and the damage to the front, possible radiator, and frame. We will be shocked if this car is not a total loss. To learn how to deal with a total loss, we recommend this ebook:

Also, visit this page: for more on how to negotiate and get to the fair market value.

3. Water damage: Water damage can be significant. Depending on how much time the car was under water. Also, it could create a pretty bad odor for a period of time.

We hope this helps

Good Luck,

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