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Airbag Injuries

Airbag injuries occur during car accidents. While a car’s airbags provide crucial cushioning for vehicle occupants in the event of a car accident, in some rare cases, poorly installed or faulty airbags cause more harm than good.

Most Common Airbag Injuries

While we all know that typically, airbags save lives, our Sandy Springs defective auto part attorneys cover the few instances in which an airbag injury can occur, as well as how to prevent the most common airbag injuries.

Call us at 770-394-8909 to see if you have a valid personal injury claim for airbag injuries.

Airbag Safety Statistics

Steering wheel, dashboard, and curtain airbags reduce driver fatalities in the event of an auto accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags have saved over 50,000 lives since they were required in all new passenger vehicles 30 years ago. 

How Do Airbags Work?

Airbags work to protect occupants using a few parts, including the crash sensor, the airbag propellant, and the air bags themselves. The crash sensor detects when a car accident is occurring. From here, the crash sensor triggers the propellant to ignite. The propellant then gives off a lot of harmless nitrogen gas, which immediately fills the air bags made of a light fabric.

The airbags provide crucial cushioning, especially for front seat passengers involved in frontal crashes, from hitting the steering wheel, dash, windows, etc., during car accidents.

Typically, the crash sensor will only trigger airbag deployment in frontal crashes, as it relies on seat belts primarily to protect vehicle occupants.

Steering Wheel and Passenger Airbags

The steering wheel and passenger airbags, collectively known as the front airbags, are designed to prevent passenger and driver fatalities. Frontal airbags inflate rapidly in severe frontal crashes, providing a barrier between the driver (driver airbag) or front seat passengers (passenger airbag) and the vehicle’s dashboard, steering wheel, and windshield.

A frontal airbag works through a crash sensor that detects sudden deceleration from frontal crashes and a chemical reaction within the inflator mechanism of the frontal airbag, which produces a gas to inflate within milliseconds. Once the driver and passenger airbags deploy, the frontal airbags help to distribute the forces exerted on the vehicle occupants over a broader area, significantly reducing the risk of serious or fatal injuries, such as head and neck injuries.

The front airbags then deflate as they absorb the impact of the car accident, allowing for a controlled deceleration of the occupant’s forward movement.

Side Airbags and Curtain Airbags

The car’s front airbags do very little to protect those in the rear seats, but side airbags protect both those in the front seat and rear seat. These side airbags deploy from inside the car’s doors. These side airbags protect passengers in the rear seat from striking the car’s doors in the event of a crash.

New passenger vehicles also have curtain-side airbags, which deploy from the upper portion of the car’s interior frame. When the curtain side airbag deploys, it protects the rear seat passengers from hitting their heads directly on the car’s windows in car accidents. Side airbags can also help protect the unbelted occupants from breaking through the windows and being thrown out of the car, especially in more serious car accidents like trucking accidents and rollover accidents.

How Common Airbag Injuries Occur

Airbag Deployment Injuries

Airbag deployment can cause serious injuries in several ways, including airbag deployment with excessive force or explosions. When this happens, frontal airbags can cause abrasions, bruises, broken bones, or even launching shrapnel during car accidents.

The rapid inflation of side airbags is critical for protecting passengers but can harm children, especially if the airbag deploys and their child safety seat is improperly positioned in the rear seat. Additionally, for parents who don’t have rear seats and have installed the car seat in the front seat, the frontal airbags can cause serious injury or even death for children in one-row vehicles.

Also, while the gas is typically harmless, it can trigger asthma attacks in children.

Lastly, faulty airbags may never deploy at all. This can cause a vehicle occupant to suffer from serious injuries, even if they are wearing a seat belt. In fact, the seat belt itself can cause injuries, such as seat belt syndrome, especially if it’s the only thing protecting the occupant from harm.

If you or a loved one has suffered any airbag injuries, consult with a Sandy Springs car accident attorney or a Sandy Springs truck accident attorney today.

How Do You Know if You Have a Defective Airbag

To ensure your car’s airbags are functioning correctly, look for the airbag indicator on the dashboard, which should light up briefly when the car is started. If the light stays on or flashes, it’s a sign that professional inspection is needed. Additionally, consult the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list to check if your vehicle is affected by any recalls, such as the significant Takata airbag recall. If your car is listed, arrange for the faulty airbag to be replaced promptly.

Most Common Airbag Injuries in Car Accidents

Airbag face injuries

If you have suffered from any of these common injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the airbag manufacturer. Call 770-394-8909 to schedule an appointment with the Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates, P.C., to discuss your potential claim.

Here are the most common airbag injuries caused by airbag deployment.

Head and Neck Injuries

Airbag deployment is a critical safety feature in modern vehicles, designed to protect passengers during a collision. However, while airbags significantly reduce the risk of more severe injuries in many accidents, they can also cause several head injury types, such as traumatic brain injury or concussion, neck injuries, or back injuries, especially when car occupants are too close to the airbag at the time of deployment or if the deployment is particularly forceful.

Minor injuries such as abrasions or bruises are common airbag injuries, but in some cases, the impact can lead to severe neck or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), as well.

Moreover, the advent of side airbags has been instrumental in protecting occupants from serious injury, yet they, too, can contribute to such injuries. While side airbags are designed to prevent internal injuries and chest injuries, their deployment can still result in traumatic brain injury.

In addition to head injuries, back injuries can also occur, albeit less frequently, due to the body’s sudden movement during airbag deployment.

If the car is hit from the side and curtain or side airbags fail to deploy, the passengers may hit their head on the car windows or doors, which can also cause traumatic brain injuries. Sandy Springs traumatic brain injury attorneys and Sandy Springs spinal cord injury attorneys can help victims recover compensation for their suffering.

Facial Injuries

Facial injuries are also some of the most common airbag injuries. This includes eye injuries. If, during airbag deployment, the airbag explodes, shrapnel can fly into the occupant’s eye, which can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Front airbags can also cause eye injuries if they deploy too close to the person’s eye and scrape the cornea.

The force of the accident or the airbag deployment can also lead to other injuries, including facial fractures, lacerations, contusions, burns, and scars.

Hand, Wrist, Arm, and Leg Injuries

The most common airbag injuries associated with the hands, wrists, arms, and legs of car occupants include broken bones, lacerations, contusions, sprains, and burns. When front and side airbags deploy rapidly, they can cause burns from brief contact. Though these may appear as minor injuries, they can remove skin layers and cause significant pain.

Our Sandy Springs burn lawyers can help victims of car accidents caused by negligence secure a reasonable burn injury settlement for serious burn injuries.

Rib and Chest Injuries

Common rib and chest injuries caused by airbags include rib fractures, internal injuries, and asthma attacks.

Frontal airbags can slam into a person’s chest, causing organ damage from broken ribs. Additionally, the gas from the airbag deployment can aggravate respiratory problems.

Can an Airbag Kill You?

Airbag Injuries to Chest

Yes, an airbag can potentially be fatal. Although rare, there have been fatalities and injuries attributed to the recalled Takata airbag. Various injuries attributed to airbag injuries, including a severe head injury, can be life-threatening. In instances where a faulty or improperly functioning airbag leads to a fatal outcome, the bereaved family might have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer responsible for the airbag’s malfunction.

Sandy Springs wrongful death attorney can help you determine if you have a claim.

How to Prevent Airbag Injuries

How can you prevent airbag injuries? The best way to prevent airbag injuries is by wearing a seat belt, especially when you’re one of the front seat passengers. Airbags and safety belts were meant to be used together.

Unbelted occupants are likely to collide with the side door, driver, and passenger airbags with force, which can cause more severe injuries.

Children in booster seats need to be in the rear seat. The frontal airbag is specifically designed to protect adults in a car accident. Frontal airbags can suffocate small children and can lead to bone fracture injuries during car wrecks. In fact, adult drivers are told to sit at least 10 inches away from the wheel to prevent chest injuries in the event that the airbag deploys.

You can also prevent airbag injury by ensuring your airbags work or have not been recalled.

Can You Sue for an Airbag Injury?

Airbag Injuries to Face

Yes, if you suffer from airbag injuries, you can sue the airbag manufacturer for compensation. When airbags fail to protect occupants and prevent car accident injuries in a car accident, they can cause serious harm. 

According to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, because of the high risk that a faulty airbag poses, if one is defective and it causes someone’s injuries, the manufacturer can be found negligent for the poor design, construction, or installation of the airbags. Drivers can also be found negligent if they knowingly drive passenger vehicles with others in the car while they have faulty or defective airbags.

Product Liability Claim

First and foremost, the airbag’s manufacturer is responsible for designing, testing, manufacturing, and distributing airbags. When their actions or inactions cause something like an airbag injury, they should be held liable for their negligence.

Victims can file a product liability claim against the airbag’s manufacturing company if the airbag deployed at the wrong time, malfunctioned when it was deployed, or failed to deploy at all, causing injuries. 

In order to file a product liability claim, the victim must be able to prove that:

  • The airbag manufacturer breached its warranty;
  • The manufacturer was negligent during the manufacturing process or
  • The airbag was responsible for the injuries as a result of strict liability.

If you have suffered from an airbag injury, the lawyers at Ashenden & Associates can help you file a claim against the company responsible for your losses. Our skilled attorneys will know exactly how to prove fault and can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Driver Negligence Claim

If you are a passenger in a car accident and you sustain an airbag injury, you may be able to sue the driver or owner for your damages. Personal injury law is tricky, but this kind of case would be especially difficult to navigate. You would have to be able to prove that the driver and/or owner knew they had faulty airbags installed in their car but drove with you in the car anyway. 

Damages for Airbag Injuries

Takata airbag injuries

If you suffer from an airbag injury, you may be able to recover compensation for damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death accident. 

Call Sandy Springs Car Accident Attorneys at Ashenden & Associates

Airbags are supposed to help prevent injuries in the event of an auto accident, not cause them. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious airbag injury, you deserve to be compensated for both your economic and non-economic losses. We at Ashenden & Associates are prepared to fight by your side and help you secure the compensation you truly deserve.

Ready to get started? Call our law office at 770-394-8909 or contact us via our website and schedule a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys.