Though airbags are used as a safety measure to prevent injuries, they can sometimes be the cause harm to those in the vehicle. As ironic as it may seem, airbags have a very strong force, so if proper safety measures are not taken or they malfunction, they they can be harmful and injuries.
How do Airbags Function?
Airbags are deployed in the event of a near head-on collision of the car. The airbags are located behind the steering wheel, behind the dashboard on both the driver and passenger side and often on the sides of the car in the front doors. When a car hits another object, sensors are triggered by the impact which inflate and deploy the airbags within 1/20th of a second. Immediately after the airbag makes contact with a person, an ignitor releases a gas into the bag causing it to deflate.
Ways Airbags Can Cause Harm
Airbags are necessary, however, to ensure safety and prevent injuries, it’s important that they are functioning properly and that the individuals in the car take proper safety measure. For example, individuals sitting the in the front row of the car should be buckled up and sit at least ten inches from the dashboard. In addition, it is generally advised that kids do not sit in the front, because they are more susceptible to sustaining airbag injuries. The following are ways in which an airbag can cause injuries:
- Sitting too close to the dashboard
- Strong deployment causing a large impact to the head, face and body
- A minor accident or impact can trigger the airbag to deploy which could cause more injuries than the accident impact itself
- By hot gases released during airbag deployment
- Airbag malfunctions caused by crash sensor problems. This can result in the airbag deploying late or not at all, which can cause impact injuries from the car accident
Injuries Caused by Airbags
The following are common airbag-related injuries
- Bruising to the face or chest
- Burns or cuts from the impact
- Burns from the hot gases
- Head and/or brain injuries
- Fractures or breaks to facial bones, skull, sternum or ribs
- Injuries to eyes and ears
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Respiratory problems
These injuries can be minor, severe or even fatal. In some cases, injuries can cause chronic or long-term health problems. Regardless of the injury, it can be painful and expensive, so it’s important to take proper safety measures.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you sustained injuries because the airbag malfunctioned, then you may be entitled to compensation. In such cases, the car company or airbag company may be at fault, so they can be held liable for the damages. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party can be beneficial to getting the compensation you need, however, the process can be difficult. A lawyer, like a car accident lawyer Memphis TN trusts, can help you determine and complete the requirements necessary to filing a successful claim.
In order to file a successful claim against another party for a malfunctioning airbag, you will need to prove that the injuries were caused by the airbag, as opposed to reckless driving or behavior. To do so, you should keep evidence such as the airbag, and the car itself, rather than immediately sending them to a wrecker or insurance company. The airbag can be inspected to check for defections. If the car has a “black box”, then it will have recorded information necessary for proving your claim, such as whether brakes and seatbelts were used properly during the time of the accident.
A personal injury lawyer can help you with these requirements, as well as protect your interests and rights during the case.
Thanks to our friends from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC for their insights into airbags and personal injury cases.