What Kind of Injuries Are Caused by Airbags?

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A deflated airbag after a car accident.

While airbags have saved countless lives, they may still contribute to serious injury in the event of a car accident. Injuries may result from airbag deployment, especially if an airbag is defective. Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident and sustained injuries due to an airbag? Contact the experienced North Carolina car accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters.’ Call (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to receive your free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

Do Airbags Cause Injuries?

Do airbags cause injuries? Yes, airbags, whether frontal or side airbags, may cause injuries to a driver or a passenger. Injuries may include:

  • Head and neck injuries
  • Upper body injuries
  • Spinal fractures of the neck
  • Broken arms, wrists, hands, and fingers
  • Eye damage
  • Broken nose
  • Broken ribs and fractured sternum
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Soft tissue and organ damage
  • Burns and abrasions
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Asthma and other respiratory conditions and injuries.

While airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident, they can be defective and lead to severe injury. However, from 1987 to 2017, front airbags have saved 50,457 lives in the United States, which is why they are still used in vehicles being manufactured today. Benefits are thought to outweigh any risks associated with airbag deployment. 

Airbag Injuries

How Do Airbag-Related Injuries Happen?

When an airbag injures a driver or passenger, it is generally due to airbag defects. Airbag defects may occur from:

  • Deploying too late
  • Deploying unexpectedly when not in a crash
  • Deploying with excessive force
  • Exploding
  • Firing chemicals and debris at vehicle occupants
  • Not deploying at all

Does Hitting an Airbag Hurt?

Yes, hitting an airbag may hurt badly. Generally, airbags deploy with great force and can be very hot. Experiences will vary from person to person, and the extent of any associated injuries.

Has Anyone Died From an Airbag?

Sadly, hundreds of people have been killed by airbags, especially younger children. Even though airbags have saved countless lives, fatalities may still occur.

What Should I Do if I Am Hurt by an Airbag?

If you or a loved one have become injured by an airbag, the first thing you should do is immediately receive medical attention. A report from a physician can provide the evidence needed if you should pursue a legal claim down the line. If possible, you should take pictures of the accident scene, including the deployed airbag.

The insurer might want to total the vehicle if you were in a severe accident that badly wrecked your car. Don’t let them do that. Without the airbag and its parts, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to prove that it caused your injuries. The airbag, the sensor, and even the vehicle’s computer should be kept as evidence should you decide to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

Airbag Statistics

Below find some airbag statistics regarding the safety of airbags:

  • 163 million have airbags installed on the driver-side in the U.S. 
  • It is estimated that adding airbags to all vehicles in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Chili could save 40,000 lives in 14 years.
  • Airbags and seatbelts reduce the risk of fatality in frontal collisions by 61%.
  • Airbags were responsible for the deaths of 116 minors from 1996 to 2000.
  • Airbags were responsible for the deaths of 75 adults from 1996 to 2000.
  • Airbags reduce the chance of fatality of front-seat passengers older than 13 by 32%.
  • Each airbag costs an auto manufacturer $50.
  • From 2014 on, every U.S. car has or will have side airbags installed.
  • In 2017, it is estimated that 2,790 lives were saved due to airbags.
  • Side airbags can reduce an SUV driver’s risk of fatality by 52%.
  • The NHTSA recalled 70 million Takata airbags due to safety issues. 

Liability in an Airbag Injury Claim

If you or a loved one have been injured by an airbag, the airbag manufacturer or car manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. However, the burden of proof will be on the injury victim to prove that the airbag was defective. A personal injury product liability attorney can assist you with building a solid claim.

Damages from an airbag injury claim could include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Payment for lost wages
  • Wrongful death benefits if a family member dies.

Additionally, you may be entitled to punitive damages if the manufacturer was found grossly negligent. Punitive damages are meant to punish at-fault parties so they are less careless in the future. Even airbags that are working correctly can cause injuries. Therefore, if you feel that your airbag worked adequately, but you were not clearly informed by vehicle labels and documentation about proper seating when it comes to airbag safety, you may also have a claim against the carmaker, depending on the circumstances.

Safety Tips for Avoiding Airbag Injuries

The NHTSA recommends that drivers and passengers adhere to the following precautions to avoid airbag injuries:

  • Always have airbags that have been replaced by a qualified repair center if they have been deployed. Airbags are not reusable.
  • Avoid placing rear-facing car seats in the front seat.
  • Seat children 12 and under in the back seat.
  • Sit at least 10″ from the steering wheel or passenger dashboard.
  • Wear a seatbelt at all times while driving.

North Carolina Car Accident Attorney

If an airbag has injured you, an experienced car accident attorney can explore your options for compensation after learning the details of your case. Contact the experienced attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’, by calling (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online to receive your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We are here to assist you with your legal concerns. The attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson have represented hundreds of North Carolina car accident victims and have helped them to receive the best possible outcome for their personal injury claims. If we take your case, you will owe us nothing until we win.