Airbag Injuries from Car Accidents
Airbags are designed to keep us safe in the event of an auto accident; they save thousands of lives per year. With proper use, an airbag can prevent or lessen head and neck injuries that may result from the impact of a motor vehicle collision. What some people don’t know is that airbags can also injure a person in a crash. Fortunately, most injuries caused by an airbag are less severe than the harm the victim would have incurred if the device had not deployed. If you, or someone you love, have been hurt by an airbag in a car accident, contact Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer David Tapalian to determine your legal rights to seek compensation for your damages.How do Airbags Work?
Airbags are designed to prevent, or reduce the severity of, injury to a person’s head or neck when striking a hard surface like a steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield, during a car accident. The safety device cushions the head from a direct strike to the hard surface and can also reduce injury to the neck by lessening the jolting back and forth that often takes place in a crash.How an Airbag Deploys
When a vehicle’s airbag sensor detects a moderate to severe crash, it sends a signal to the ignitor. The ignitor then produces a harmless gas that fills the airbag to deploy in under a second. Sensors consider several variables when detecting a crash, a key factor being speed. Front airbags are located in the steering wheel for the driver, and the dashboard for the front seat passenger. Depending on the type of car, truck, or SUV, additional side airbags may be located within the doors. Side airbags deploy even quicker than front airbags as there is less space between the driver and/or passenger and the object they are striking. As a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island, David Tapalian has seen airbags deploy in crashes against not just other moving vehicles, but also parked cars, buildings, and trees. Airbags are intended to deploy only once. Therefore, if an airbag deploys whether in a major or minor collision, it must be replaced by the automobile manufacturer.Types of Airbag Injuries
Despite enormous life-saving benefits, an airbag can still injure a person during a car accident, even if it deploys properly. There are several ways a victim can get hurt when an airbag deploys in a crash, including physical injuries and respiratory problems. Some common airbag injuries include:
- Abrasions, bruises
- Eye injury
- Hearing loss
- Throat, nose, lung irritation
- Chronic respiratory issues
- Broken bones
- Fetal death
Many of these injuries result from the speed of deployment, in particular when a driver or passenger is too close to the airbag when it deploys. Case in point, as highlighted in a Tapalian Law Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog, a female passenger in a car was riding with her feet up on the dashboard when a crash occurred and deployed her airbag. Due to her positioning and the impact of the airbag, she suffered a broken hip, nose, arm, and ankle, in addition to other serious repercussions.
Throat and lung irritation can also occur from chemicals in the gas that fill the device. This is seen more commonly in people already suffering certain medical conditions, and in rare cases can trigger an asthma attack. In some unfortunate circumstances, airbag injuries have been fatal. As a top-rated Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney, David Tapalian knows the majority of airbag injuries are less harmful than the damage the person would have incurred without the protection of the airbag.Airbag Defects
In some cases, airbags can be defective or malfunction, hurting an innocent victim. For example, over 60 million Takata airbags have been recalled due to defects that can cause them to explode during deployment resulting in severe injury or death. It’s crucial to note that just because someone is hurt by an airbag, doesn’t mean there was a product defect or malfunction. However, if you think your injuries were caused by an airbag defect and someone else is liable, seek expert legal advice right away. Certain evidence such as the airbag, crash sensor, and other parts of the vehicle must be preserved immediately in order to establish liability for the accident and your injuries. To determine your eligibility to file a lawsuit seeking damages against the airbag manufacturer, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island.Preventing Airbag Injury
It’s critical to stress that airbags are designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts, not to replace them. With proper use, the IIHS shows frontal airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29% and passenger fatalities by 32%. The NHTSA and IIHS both offer tips on how to prevent an airbag injury that include:
- Always wear a seatbelt. (Tragically, in 80% of airbag-related deaths from 1990 to 2008, the victim was not wearing a safety belt.)
- Position seats at least 10 inches back from where airbags deploy.
- Children under age 13 should always ride in the backseat when possible.
- Use the correct car seat for your child’s height and weight and ensure children are properly restrained.
If you’ve been hurt in any type of auto accident in Rhode Island, seek immediate medical attention. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the losses you incurred including medical bills, hospital bills, lost wages, physical therapy, surgery, and pain and suffering. Attorney David Tapalian is a highly-respected, and top-rated injury lawyer in Providence, RI. With over 20 years of experience helping injured victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, David and his dedicated team of professionals will work aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve. Especially in an airbag injury case, it’s critical to obtain crucial evidence right away to establish liability for your claim. Don’t wait to contact us. Call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000, or use our easy, online form to schedule a free consultation.