If your airbag deploys perfectly and you're lucky enough to be in the right position, it could make the difference between life and death. However, if there is something wrong with the bag or deployment apparatus, or you're unprepared for the force of the bags, it could potentially cause you and your family serious external and potentially fatal internal injuries.
This is why it is extremely important to stay current with airbag recalls, understand your risks, and recognize possible injuries airbags can cause, especially when you decide to pursue an accident injury claim.
Potential Airbag Injuries
Airbag are designed to rapidly deploy when a car suffers a severe impact. The point of the airbag is to prevent drivers and passengers from slamming their heads on the steering column, windows, or dashboard. Unfortunately, the force at which the bag deploys can cause serious impact injuries on its own, while any type of defect (material flaws, faulty wiring, pressure miscalculations, etc.) can further your risks exponentially. Unfortunately, you may not know if there is a defect until it is too late.
Airbags are standard safety features in the majority of vehicles and when they deploy in an accident (whether defective or not) you could wind up suffering from the following injuries:
- Burns. When you're in an accident, your car measures the impact force and signals the airbag deployment apparatus to create a small explosion. That explosion produces extremely hot nitrogen gas that then fills the bag in under a second. If there is a malfunction with the explosion or a tear in the bag, that heated gas could be expelled directly toward your bare skin causing severe burns.
- Blindness. Since the bag deploys toward your face, your eyes are susceptible to a lot of damage. Nirogen gas could burn your eyes, eyeglasses could be shattered, and shrapnel could scrape, cut, or stab your eyes.
- Hearing loss. When an airbag deploys, it can produce a lot of pressure that can have ill effects on your inner ear and could possibly even perforate your eardrums, causing permanent hearing loss.
- Broken bones. Airbags deploy at an excess of 200 mph and exert enough force to easily break a bone. Since the airbag is positioned directly in front of your ribcage, the impact force of the bag can easily cause ribs to compress, vertebrae in your neck to snap, and bones in your face to fracture.
- Lacerations and penetrations. Inflation defects can cause an explosion to propel pieces of metal toward you and your passengers at projectile speeds. This can cause massive lacerations and the debris can penetrate your bodies much like a bullet. Less severe lacerations can also occur if the bag doesn't inflate fully or deflates too quickly, causing you to smash into the steering wheel or dashboard.
- Miscarriages. Airbags can be a serious threat to unborn children. Not only is the bag directed toward your baby, but it also inflates at an excess of 200 mph with five pounds of pressure per square inch, which could potentially crush your uterus and cause a miscarriage.
- Brain and spinal injuries. If the force of the inflation is too great, it could cause your head to be violently pushed backward, potentially tearing neck muscles, dislocating your neck and spine, and cause your brain to become jostled in your skull, all of which can result in permanent damage or even death.
If you were seriously injured by an airbag in a crash and you suspect a malfunction, contact our office for a free consultation.