Airbags saved an estimated 39,976 lives from 1987 to 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These devices also lower the risk of hitting your head or upper body on the dashboard or other areas inside your car during an accident.
However, that does not mean airbags are 100 percent safe. Airbags deploy at an average speed of 100 mph and can be covered with dust and chemicals that assist in deployment. Hitting an object that is moving that fast could easily cause a personal injury, as could exposure to dust and chemicals on the airbag.
The chemicals that are used to inflate the airbag can heat up the device, possibly causing burns to the face or other body parts.
Deployment errors or malfunctions also increase your risk of injury. If the crash sensor deploys the device just a fraction of a second late, your head will be right in front of the airbag when it shoots out during a car accident.
If your car is equipped with Takata airbags, there is a risk of an explosion that can spray metal shards throughout your vehicle, possibly causing serious injury or death.
Common Airbag Injuries
Airbags can cause a wide variety of injuries because so many body parts are exposed to these devices. Injuries can be minor or result in chronic, debilitating health problems and even death in some cases.
Some of the most common airbag injuries include:
- Abrasions to the upper body, face and limbs
- Facial contusions
- Contusions to the chest, arms, knees and internal organs
- Blunt trauma, strain or fracture of the cervical spine
- Burns to the hands, arms and chest
- Facial fractures, broken arms and wrists
- Fractured rib cage or skull
- Loss of consciousness
- Brain swelling or bruising
- Lacerations to the liver, spleen, brain stem, lungs, heart, veins or arteries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Brain compression
- Heart rupture
- Eye injuries
- Hearing loss
- Trauma to the ear
- Punctured placenta and fetal trauma
- Sprained wrists and fingers
- Skin irritation, known as airbag dermatitis
- Throat irritation, coughing or asthma attack
Preventing Injuries from Airbags
There are several practical steps you can take to lower your risk of suffering an airbag injury if it deploys in a car crash:
- State law requires that all passengers, along with the driver, wear seatbelts at all times.
- Pregnant women who are far along in their pregnancies should avoid driving as the airbag and steering column could injure the fetus in an accident.
- Your seat should be positioned 10 inches from the airbag’s deployment area.
- Shorter or elderly drivers and those with older automobiles may benefit from having an airbag on/off switch installed.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Under Texas Transportation Code § 545.412, unless a child is eight years old or more than four feet, nine inches tall, he or she must be secured in an appropriate car seat according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
While not required by law, it is recommended that children 12 years old or younger never ride in the front seat unless the adult seatbelt fits properly.
You should also never install a rear-facing child safety seat in a seat that has front airbags.
While these safety tips can reduce the risk of an airbag injury, it could still happen. If it does, contact the personal injury attorneys at Anderson & Cummings for a free, no obligation consultation.
These are complex cases and we know how to conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is liable for your injuries. Our goal is to obtain all of the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.