Airbags aim to provide a cushion for drivers and passengers during a car crash. Airbags are hidden in compartments around the car and inflate when a collision occurs. It is now a legal requirement that all cars have airbags in the front of the vehicle. Side airbags are not mandated through law, but all car manufacturers include them in car designs to this day. Other car manufacturers are also trying to employ airbags from the rear windows to protect those passengers sitting in the back seats. There’s also new technology of inflatable safety belts to reduce any injuries that could occur during a car accident.
Are Airbags Effective in Preventing Injury?
According to the IIHS safety studies:
- Front airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29% and fatalities for front seat passengers age 13 and older by 32%
- Side airbags reduce the risk of death by 37%
From the data, we understand that airbags are critical for preventing injuries in an accident – They could potentially save someone’s life. But what happens when the airbag does not deploy properly or at all? Would you be able to file a lawsuit against the car manufacturer for the injuries caused by the airbag’s malfunction?
This article discusses airbag deployment injuries in car accidents and the steps you could take to ensure compensation for your injuries. It is important to seek an experienced car accident attorney to pursue your claims and navigate through the legal process. Failure to hire an experienced car accident attorney could potentially result in the loss of thousands or even millions of dollars.
How is an Airbag Deployed?
Airbags are essentially made from fabric and are placed in different locations inside the car. The most common airbag location is inside the steering wheel. Every car has a crash sensor. This crash sensor alerts the airbag to deploy whenever there is an accident detected. However, there needs to be a certain amount of force for the crash sensor to deploy the airbags. If the accident is minimal, the airbag may not even deploy. The sensor alerts the airbag to deploy by giving off an argon or nitrogen gas that fills up the airbag to inflate. Airbags usually deploy very quickly to save your life during the accident. The airbag then deflates very quickly as soon as it is deployed.
How Can an Airbag Cause Injuries?
Many of us have heard of car manufacturers and recalls that they have had on airbags. One of the most common reason why airbags are recalled is because they do not deploy during accidents because of a defect that the manufacturer recently found.
In a front collision, the car’s airbag should go off at the right time to help cushion the impact. If the airbag does not deploy properly, the driver could end up with severe injuries or even pass away from the severity of the impact.
When an airbag deploys too late, it can cause several injuries to the driver since the driver’s head would have already hit the steering wheel because of the sudden jolt of the accident. During an accident, the driver is quickly pushed forward, then pulled back. During the process of when the driver is pushed forward, if the airbag deploys, the driver is more likely to incur injuries. That is why it is essential for the airbag to deploy in a timely manner.
What are the Different Ways an Airbag Could Be Defective?
There are variety of ways and airbag could be defective. Examples include:
- when the sensor is faulty and does not alert the airbag to deploy
- when the sensor does not deploy all airbags
- when the sensor deploys the airbags too late
Who’s the Defendant in an Airbag Deployment Injury?
Airbags are the number one safety feature that are constantly getting recalled by car manufacturers. It is the car manufacturer’s responsibility for maintaining effective airbags and making sure that they deploy properly during an accident. Any defects in the airbags’ deployment or timing could be the sole responsibility and liability of the airbag manufacturer.
Car manufacturers are most likely going to be the defendants for any claims of injuries caused by the airbag functionality. Sometimes airbags could even go off very quickly and cause even more injuries than they would have had the airbag not deployed as quickly. Recalls are considered notice to a plaintiff that their airbags are defective. Car manufacturers give drivers the opportunity to bring in their car to get the airbag repaired. For any defects that are newly discovered, car airbag manufacturers should be held liable for the defects in the airbag. It is the car manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that the airbag goes off safely and does not cause any injuries if it was to go off.
Common Airbag Injuries
Our attorneys have decades of experience dealing with car accident claims. The most common injuries we have seen as a result of the airbag deployment include:
- Eye injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Loss in hearing
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
How to Prevent an Airbag Injury
No one can completely prevent an accident, much less injuries caused by an airbag during an accident. But there are some ways drivers could protect themselves from severe injuries caused by an airbag deployment. Below are some safety precautions drivers could take.
- A child should never be placed in the front passenger seat. There are certain weight requirements for a young adult to meet when sitting in the front. Children should always be in the back seat in a child seat. When seated in the front, children are likely to suffer serious, life-threatening injuries.
- Always wear your seatbelt to protect you from the abrupt push and pull following an accident.
- If you are the driver of the car, make sure the other passengers in the car are wearing their seatbelt. Passengers in the back are likely to be pushed forward towards the windshield glass during an accident, and a seatbelt prevents such abrupt movement.
- The NHTSA suggests that car seats should be at least 10 inches away from the airbag deployment area. Being too close to the airbag deployment may result in more severe injuries, and being too far from the airbag deployment area may not prevent injuries if an accident were to occur. After purchasing a vehicle, make sure you understand where are airbags are located.
- Make sure to hold the steering wheel with both hands
Experienced Airbag Injury Attorneys are Just a Call Away
Airbags are intended to prevent you from getting severely injured. But, sometimes, they could do the complete opposite. Sometimes an airbag going off could actually cause more injuries than expected. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries from an airbag during a car accident, then you may be able to pursue claims for your injuries as a result of the airbags not deploying properly during an accident. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with a team of experienced car accident injury attorneys.
***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.