Airbags were developed as a safety measure to prevent or reduce the risk of injuries in automobile accidents. The NHTSA estimates that frontal airbags saved 44,869 lives from 1987 through 2015. In 2016 alone, the NHTSA estimates that frontal airbags saved 2,756 lives. However, airbags can cause serious injuries and deaths during a car accident.
How Do Airbags Cause Injuries in a Car Accident?
In some cases, the airbags may be defective, and the defect causes an injury during an accident. Frontal airbags manufactured by Takata have been blamed for 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Even when an airbag is not defective, it can cause an injury or death.
Airbags deploy at an average speed of 100 miles per hour. Being hit by an object, even an airbag, traveling at that speed can cause serious injuries. Furthermore, the chemicals used to inflate the bag can cause serious burns and injuries to the face and other body parts. In some cases, the airbag may explode causing fragments to become dangerous projectiles.
Airbags that do not deploy at the correct time can also cause serious injuries. If a sensor is defective or malfunctioning, the airbag may deploy late. Even a second or two could make a huge difference during a car accident.
What are Common Airbag Injuries?
Frontal and side airbags can cause a variety of injuries. Some injuries are minor and do not cause permanent damage. However, some airbag injuries can have lasting and permanent consequences for victims.
Common airbag injuries sustained in automobile accidents include:
- Chemical burns
- Facial contusions
- Broken bones and fractures
- Abrasions, lacerations, and impact burns
- Broken ribs and rib fractures
- Trauma and strains of the neck and back
- Loss of hearing
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury
- Organ failure and internal bleeding
- Fractures to the fingers, nose, elbow, skull, wrist, or eye socket
- Eye injuries, including retinal detachment or tears
- Injuries to unborn children if the victim is pregnant
The above list is not an exhaustive list of potential injuries from airbags. If you are involved in an auto accident with an airbag that deploys, you need to report any symptoms to your physician immediately. Do not disregard or downplay symptoms. It is best to have a complete physical examination to rule out any serious injuries from an airbag.
How to Prevent Airbag Injuries in Car Accidents?
You may not be able to prevent all injuries from airbags; however, you can take steps to reduce the risk of injury from an airbag. Some of the ways you can reduce the risk of airbag injuries include:
- Always Wear a Seatbelt
In a car accident, your seatbelt is designed to tighten and hold your body in place to prevent you from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard. Wearing a seatbelt also helps keep your body out of the area in which the airbag inflates. Some airbag injuries are caused because the driver or passenger is too close to the airbag when it deploys. Sitting as far away from the airbag as practical can help reduce your risk of an airbag injury. However, do not risk impairing your driving ability by sitting too far back from the steering wheel and pedals.
- Avoid Driving if You are Pregnant
Whenever possible, avoid driving when you are pregnant. In an accident, the airbag could cause injury to your unborn child, especially if you are sitting close to the steering column at the time of impact.
- Follow Safe Practices for Child Restraints
Filing an Airbag Injury Claim
If an airbag injures you, there are several steps you need to take immediately to protect your right to recover compensation for your injury.
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries and document your injuries carefully.
- Preserve crucial evidence including all parts of the airbag.
- Do not allow your vehicle’s internal computer to be reset or erased.
- Do not allow your vehicle to be transferred to the insurance company or taken to a junkyard. You need to retain possession of your vehicle until you speak with a Maryland airbag injury lawyer, if possible.
An airbag injury claim can be very challenging. You will want the assistance of an experienced airbag injury lawyer in Maryland. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine how the airbag injury occurred and identify the party or parties who are liable for your damages. In many cases, your attorney will work closely with industry experts to prove that the liable parties were negligent or reckless in causing the conditions that result in your injury.
Contact a Maryland Airbag Injury Attorney for More Information
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC for a free consultation with a Parkville airbag injury attorney by calling 410-661-9440.