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What Are The Side Effects Of Airbag Deployment?

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Airbag deployment in a vehicle is intended to provide a cushion to protect occupants during a collision. Undoubtedly, airbags have saved countless lives in automobile accidents in the United States and around the world.

However, airbag deployment can have potential side effects or risks, varying depending on the individual and the crash circumstances. The airbag can even cause damage by malfunctioning, leading to severe deployment injuries. 

An experienced Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer understands the complexity of cases in airbag deployment and the tragedy of car crashes. A lawyer can help you evaluate the potential for recovery for your damages, if you have been injured in a faulty airbag deployment. 

Common Airbag Accident Injuries

Some common car accident airbag deployed injuries include:

  • Airbag deployment can cause eye injuries, such as corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or other eye trauma.
  • The force of airbag deployment can cause chest injuries, such as rib fractures, sternum fractures, or injuries to internal organs, such as the heart or lungs.
  • Ear injuries such as hearing loss 
  • Airbag injuries to the face include fractures to the jaw, cheekbones, or nose and soft tissue injuries.
  • Burn injuries may occur due to airbag deployment through chemical, friction, and thermal burns.
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur in car accidents, including those where airbags deploy.
  • Respiratory issues such as asthma. The gasses and particles released during airbag deployment can include substances such as sodium azide, which is used in the inflation process, as well as combustion by-products from the explosion that occurs to inflate the airbag can cause such issues.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers not wearing seatbelts may interfere with the airbag deployment causing airbag impact injuries. 

If a vehicle occupant is not wearing a seatbelt, they may not be properly restrained during the sudden deceleration caused by the collision. As a result, the force of the airbag deployment can cause the unrestrained occupant to be forcefully thrown forward towards the airbag, leading to a higher risk of airbag-related injuries. 

Car Accident Airbag Deployed Injuries

What Happens When Airbags Deploy?

When a collision occurs, sensors in the vehicle detect the impact and send a signal directing the airbag control module to deploy the airbags. These sensors can be located in various vehicle parts, such as the front bumper, side panels, or other impact-prone areas.

Upon receiving the crash signal, the airbag control module triggers the deployment of the appropriate airbags. The airbags rapidly inflate with a mixture of gas, typically generated from a solid propellant, within milliseconds. The force of inflation causes the airbags to expand and fill the available space in front of the occupants.

In some vehicles, airbag deployment may be accompanied by seat belt tensioning, which can tighten the seat belt around the occupants to restrain them further and reduce the risk of injury. One of the most common deployment errors is a crash sensor malfunction. Crash sensor malfunctions may occur due to the following reasons:

  • When an airbag deploys at a wrong time;
  • Partial deployment of the airbag;
  • When the airbag fails to deploy at all during the accident.

Front seat passengers may be injured during airbag deployment whether the airbag deployed correctly, during a crash, or deployed incorrectly, because of a malfunctioning sensor. 

What compensation can you pursue after airbag injuries?

If you have sustained injuries from airbag deployment in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. 

  • Medical expenses: This can include reimbursement for medical bills related to the treatment of your airbag injuries, such as hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and other medical costs.
  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages may comprise both compensation for physical pain and for emotional distress caused by your airbag injuries, including physical discomfort, mental anguish, and emotional suffering.
  • Lost wages: If your airbag injuries have caused you to miss work or resulted in a loss of income, you may be able to pursue recovery for lost wages and earning capacity, including past and future lost wages.
  • Property damage: If your vehicle or personal property was damaged as a result of the airbag deployment, you might pursue reimbursement for the repair or replacement of your property.
  • Disability or disfigurement: If your airbag injuries have resulted in a disability or permanent disfigurement, you may pursue damages for quality of life and future earning capacity.

Depending on the accident and airbag deployment circumstances, you may pursue additional compensation for other damages, such as loss of consortium, 

How Long Does It Take To Heal From Airbag Injuries

In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those related to airbag injuries, is generally four years from the date of the injury. You have four years from your airbag injury to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you fail to do so, your chance to recover damages in a lawsuit are lost.

Can I Sue for Injuries Caused by an Airbag?

It is possible to sue for injuries caused by an airbag malfunction. Still, the success of a lawsuit will depend on various factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the specific injuries sustained, and the manufacturer of the vehicle and airbag.

To file a lawsuit for injuries caused by an airbag, you will typically need to prove that the airbag was defective and that this defect was responsible for your injuries. 

In some cases, the vehicle manufacturer or airbag may be held liable for injuries caused by a defective airbag. Proving this liability may involve filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, alleging that the airbag was defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed and that this defect caused your injuries.

Takata Airbag Recall

The Takata airbag recall was initiated due to a defect in the airbag inflators, which could potentially cause the airbags to deploy with excessive force, resulting in the release of shrapnel and causing serious injuries or even fatalities to vehicle occupants.

As a result of the Takata airbag recall, numerous airbag lawsuits have been filed against Takata and various automakers that used Takata airbags in their vehicles. These lawsuits allege, among other things, product liability, negligence, and wrongful death claims. 

In response to the Takata airbag recall, millions of vehicles have been recalled worldwide by various automakers to replace defective Takata airbag inflators. Additionally, Takata has faced financial penalties and settlements with government regulators.

Need legal help in your airbag injury claim? Contact our law firm

If you sustained severe injuries from a malfunctioning airbag, you can discuss your case by scheduling a free consultation with us.  

They have expertise in handling injury cases for over 30 years. Call us at 239-549-6689 or fill out our contact form online to know how we can help find whether you have a valid claim or not.