Studies have shown that airbags save lives, especially when used with seatbelts. The NHTSA reported that frontal airbags saved 50,457 lives from 1987 through 2017. However, airbag deployment can cause injuries in some situations. 

How Do Airbags Work During an Accident?

Airbags do not inflate in every car accident. They are designed to inflate during crashes where the airbags could reduce the risk of injury or loss of life. 

For example, airbags prevent the driver and passenger from slamming into the steering wheel and dashboard in a frontal crash. In a side-impact collision, side airbags prevent passengers from slamming into the side of the car and provide a barrier against compartment intrusion (when the sides of the vehicle are forced into the occupant compartment).

Generally, a sensor signals the airbag that a moderate to severe crash occurred. Then, the igniter in the airbag system starts a chemical reaction that produces a gas that inflates the airbag. The entire process takes less than a second. 

An airbag inflates in less than one-twentieth of a second. To inflate that quickly, the force behind the airbag must be tremendous. Unfortunately, coming into contact with an airbag can cause traumatic and fatal injuries in some cases. 

Even though there is a risk of injury, the federal government required airbags to be standard equipment on all passenger vehicles beginning in 1998. The requirement extended to pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans in 1999.

How Does Airbag Deployment Affect My Car Accident Claim?

Because airbags only inflate in moderate to severe car accidents, airbag deployment is another piece of evidence you can use to prove the severity of the crash. Additionally, since airbags can cause specific injuries, the fact that the airbag deployed could help prove that specific injuries, such as soft tissue damage, whiplash, and hearing damage, occurred due to the collision. 

An insurance adjuster may offer a higher settlement if you point out the airbags deployed. Adjusters are familiar with how airbags work and understand that the airbag should not have deployed in a minor car crash. Therefore, it helps to prove that the injuries and damages you claim are legitimate. 

Types of Airbag Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Airbags typically reduce the risk of injury. However, under the right circumstances, the airbag could cause or worsen an injury. 

Common injuries caused by airbags include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken and fractured ribs
  • Lung injuries from a sudden impact and from breathing the chemicals released from the airbag
  • Neck injuries
  • Face and eye trauma
  • Hearing damage 
  • Cardiac injuries
  • Musculoskeletal damage
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Contusions, abrasions, and lacerations
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal fractures
  • Internal bleeding

An accident victim should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. The person may feel “fine” in the minutes after the crash. However, within a few hours, they could be suffering from chronic pain and other symptoms. 

If you are in a car accident, tell the physician that the airbag was deployed. The doctor can perform diagnostic tests and a physical examination to determine if you might have sustained internal injuries caused by the airbag deployment. 

What Causes Airbag Injuries?

Airbags deploy correctly in most car accidents. However, there could be a reason why an airbag failed to deploy or deployed when it should not have deployed. 

Common reasons for airbag injuries include:

  • An airbag failed to deploy or deployed when it should not have deployed because of a product defect
  • The sensor in the airbag failed to trigger deployment
  • The vehicle manufacturer made an error when installing the airbag system that caused it to malfunction
  • A small child or vulnerable adult is sitting in the front seat when the passenger airbag deploys 
  • A passenger is sitting too close to the airbag when it deploys
  • Defective airbags and/or automobile parts

If an airbag caused your injuries, you might want to talk with a Fort Worth car accident lawyer. An attorney will investigate the crash to determine the cause of your injuries.

Who Is Responsible for Airbag Injuries?

If the airbag caused your injuries, you might be unable to recover compensation without substantial proof that the airbag was defective. 

The parties responsible for your economic and non-economic damages will depend on what occurred. For example, if the airbag deployed correctly and you sustained injuries, the person responsible for causing the car accident is likely liable for your damages.

However, suppose the airbag did not deploy correctly or exploded instead of filling up with gas and inflating. In that case, the vehicle manufacturer, airbag manufacturer, and other parties associated with the design, production, distribution, and sale of the defective airbag could be liable for damages.

A personal injury lawyer will sort out the liability issues to hold the parties responsible for your airbag injury liable for all damages. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000