What to Know About Airbag Deployment
The government has required vehicle manufacturers to install airbags in all new vehicles since the 1990’s after it became apparent that the use of these devices significantly reduced the risk of occupant injury in the event of a crash. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that airbag deployment doesn’t come with its own set of risks.
When Do Airbags Deploy?
Airbags are specifically designed to deploy when the sensors in the airbag system detect an impact of moderate to major severity. The sensors then send a signal to the airbag’s inflators, causing the inflatable cushions to fill with gas within a fraction of a second. Once inflated, these airbags can keep occupants from striking the inside of the vehicle. While they have been shown to drastically reduce injury severity in the event of a collision, airbags can actually cause injuries as well.
What if My Airbags Don’t Deploy?
Unfortunately, not all airbag systems operate the way they are supposed to, which can have devastating consequences for unsuspecting vehicle occupants. An airbag could fail to deploy for a number of reasons, including everything from problems with the sensors or inflators to defective electrical components and software issues. When these kinds of problems cause an airbag to fail or to deploy improperly, an occupant could end up seriously injured.
What Injuries Can Airbags Cause?
Even when they deploy properly, airbags can cause injuries. For instance, as we mentioned earlier, airbags inflate extremely quickly (and as a result of a chemical reaction), so that means that they inflate with a lot of force. This in turn, can cause injuries, especially to the face and chest. Abrasions and lacerations are common and an accident victim may even suffer from hearing or vision loss after striking an airbag at high speeds. Injuries could be even more devastating when an airbag doesn’t deploy at all. In these cases, an occupant can expect to strike the steering wheel, dashboard, or window at full speed, significantly increasing his or her chances of suffering a catastrophic injury. Airbags that deploy improperly can also cause injuries. A few years ago, for instance, millions of vehicles with Takata airbag systems were recalled after occupants were injured by flying shrapnel released when the airbags inflated.
Who is Liable for Airbag Injuries?
Who can be held liable for an airbag injury depends on the specific facts of the case. If, for instance, a person was injured by an airbag even though it deployed properly, then he or she could recover compensation from the person responsible for causing the crash. If, on the other hand, a defect caused the airbag to deploy improperly, then the vehicle manufacturer could bear responsibility for the victim’s medical bills and lost wages. For help determining whether someone was responsible for your own car accident injuries, please reach out to our legal team today.
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While airbags can and do prevent a lot of serious injuries, they can also cause them. If you sustained an airbag injury in a car accident and have questions about your legal options moving forward, don’t hesitate to call the experienced Tampa car accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson for help.