Although airbags are a safety feature, under some circumstances, they instead cause harm. The five most common injuries include broken bones, burns, bruises, head injuries, and internal damage.
Suffering any injury could provide grounds to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against an airbag manufacturer or other party. A car accident lawyer can handle the case while you recover from your injuries.
What Are the Most Common Types of Airbag Injuries?
Airbag injuries can vary based on the circumstances of a crash. For instance, having an airbag deploy unnecessarily can cause different injuries than one that deploys during a high-speed crash.
Debris also plays a factor, causing injury when the airbag deploys and pushes items toward you. Other variables include:
- A person’s size
- Their distance from the airbag
- Front vs. side airbags
- Type of car
- Defective airbags
Nonetheless, the following are some of the most common airbag injuries people experience.
Bruises and Soft Tissue Injuries
Car accidents involve a lot of energy that must go somewhere. Your seatbelt and the airbag diffuse much of the force, but you might still suffer contusions and soft tissue injuries when your momentum halts. These are often very painful; some sprains and strains even require surgery.
The incredible speed and force of an airbag can break bones in your:
Even hairline fractures take time to heal, while more complicated breaks may require surgery.
Burns and Irritation
Injuries in this category include:
- Burns from an exploded bag
- Chemical burns
- Lung and throat irritation
- Eye irritation
Defective airbags can sometimes explode or cause exposure to dangerous chemicals, which can cause burns. A burn injury lawyer can assist with gathering evidence of defects.
Even airbags in perfect working order can cause harmful reactions due to gasses and chemicals. For example, these irritants could trigger an asthma attack in some people.
Airbags cushion your head and face when propelled forward in a crash. However, if they fail to deploy, deploy too late, or deploy incorrectly, that cushion can’t do its job. Thus, you strike your head on an airbag that hasn’t fully inflated or a steering wheel or dashboard.
The most severe airbag head injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), resulting in symptoms such as lost memory, difficulty multitasking, and loss of consciousness. TBIs are more expensive and require more time to treat, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Therefore, they could be the basis for a significant car accident injury claim.
Chest and Internal Injuries
Airbags should also cushion the chest. Failures cause you to take some of the collision’s force in your torso, injuring the heart, lungs, or other internal organs. Given that treatment can include hospitalizations, surgery, and rehabilitation, with possible lifelong complications, a personal injury lawyer could help you seek damages for chest and internal injuries.
Why Do Airbags Cause Injuries?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states airbags deploy as quickly as 50 milliseconds, using incredible force to quickly provide protection. That force becomes dangerous when combined with the following:
- Design flaws
- Manufacturing mistakes
- Errors with deployment sensors
- Improper installation
- Counterfeit or recycled airbags
For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out that counterfeit bags can fail to deploy or release shrapnel upon deployment. Issues with the sensors that detect crashes and determine the severity can cause incorrect or deployment failures. Design and manufacturing errors can affect how an airbag works.
Who Is Responsible for Your Airbag Injury?
Because airbag flaws can occur at any step in designing and constructing a vehicle, you might need to trace the vehicle’s history after an airbag injury. You might find that one choice early in the manufacturing process affected your car’s safety or that several parties acted negligently at several stages.
Possible liable parties include:
- Product designers
- Airbag manufacturers
- Car manufacturers
- Used car sellers
- Auto repair shops
Investigating these parties and determining if they made a mistake or should have known about one shouldn’t be your job after suffering an injury from an airbag. Instead, you can talk to a product liability lawyer. They will investigate your vehicle, the type of airbag, the accident circumstances, and any known recalls or defects with your car.
What if There Are No Known Defects?
Suppose the problem with your airbag wasn’t previously known or hadn’t injured someone before. Your attorney could still gather evidence to prove your injury should never have happened. They consult experts who’ll reconstruct and analyze the collision and gather testimony from witnesses and employees where the airbag was produced.
What Damages Are Available for Common Airbag Injuries?
You can file an insurance claim or product liability lawsuit against the responsible party to recover compensation for any financial and personal losses related to your airbag accident. Determining adequate compensation for you depends on your injuries, but your legal team can work to recover funds for:
- Hospital bills (e.g., imaging tests, bloodwork, surgeries, and overnight stays)
- Follow-up care (e.g., physical therapy, check-ups, prescriptions, and equipment)
- Emotional and mental health support (e.g., counseling or medications)
- Lost income during your recovery
- Reduced earning capacity due to long-term injuries
- Vocational help to transfer to a new job
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced enjoyment of life
Although you may deserve this compensation, you sometimes won’t get it without a fight. Because airbag injuries often occur during car accidents, product manufacturers or car companies may pin all your injuries on the crash rather than their defective airbag. An attorney can combat these attempts.
Get Legal Help After Suffering Injuries from an Airbag
Did you suffer a common airbag injury in a car accident—or even an uncommon one? If so, the attorneys at Ged Lawyers are available now to help with your case. Our defective airbag lawyers can investigate your crash and reconstruct what led to your injuries when your safety devices should have protected you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.