According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, over 28,000 lives have been spared due to the successful deployment of airbags. For decades, this indispensable safety precaution has been saving lives, preventing injuries, and giving people the necessary peace of mind when driving.
While these achievements shouldn’t go unnoticed or overshadowed, it’s important to understand the entire picture. Although airbags decrease someone’s risk of injury or death in a collision, this safety protocol is also responsible for many serious injuries. Due to their rapid speed of deployment and a host of other factors, airbags can severely injury individuals. This is why it is important that you contact an experienced car accident attorney if you have been injured by a deployed airbag.
What kind of dangers do deployed airbags pose to drivers?
Due to the rapid nature of car accidents, engineers designing airbags need to match this speed in order to catch a driver or passenger before coming into contact with a portion of the vehicle. For example, steering wheel airbags act as a cushion in between the driver’s head and the vehicle’s console.
This need naturally led to a design of rapid deployment since having airbags already inflated wasn’t a practical option due to limited space in vehicles. In fact, most airbags deploy at a faster rate than most people drive. These forceful and critical safety devices deploy at impressive speeds of 100 to 220 mph.
The specific injuries that occur as the result of airbag deployment depend on a few key factors, including:
- the angle of collision
- the speed of the accident
- whether or not the passenger was wearing a seat belt
- the strength of the seat belt
Here are some common injuries sustained from airbag deployment.
- Eardrum ruptures:
If a passenger’s head hits an airbag at a certain angle, the sheer strength of deployment could be enough to rupture the eardrum. According to a report by Richard Price, 17% of people involved in accidents with the deployment of an airbag suffer permanent hearing loss.
- Facial injuries:
The positioning of car seats and the angle of deployment for airbags makes a passenger’s face a common place for injuries. Both side and frontal airbags are designed to protect this most sensitive area of the body. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to sustain cuts, scrapes, and even fractures from these airbags.
- Internal injuries and broken bones:
The ribcage is another particularly sensitive area when it comes to injuries sustained from airbag deployment. When a frontal airbag deploys, it often hits a driver in the chest area. The strength of this deployment can cause broken bones and even internal injuries.
- Penetrations and lacerations:
Airbags that deploy improperly can cause shrapnel to fly out towards the driver and other passengers. These pieces of plastic, metal, or other materials can penetrate the skin or cause significant lacerations.
- Spinal and head injuries:
One of the primary purposes of airbags is to prevent fatal or permanently debilitating spinal and head injuries. If the deployment force is too strong, airbags could forcefully push a driver’s head backward. This could lead to bruising of the brain, dislocated vertebrae, and the tearing of neck muscles.
Legal Protection for Airbag Injuries
Those who have suffered airbag injuries due to someone else’s driving negligence don’t have to accept their pain without recourse. Depending on the circumstances, a car accident attorney could help you maximize a settlement for the injuries you sustained due to an airbag deployment.
Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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