Airbags are meant to ensure driver and passenger safety, but when they don’t function or function incorrectly you may sustain more injuries than from the accident itself. Defective airbags are a growing cause for concern. Mass media has recently shared numerous stories in which individuals suffer lacerations caused by flying shrapnel or chemical burns. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in which you believe you suffered injuries from a defective airbag, we can help. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers can help you recover compensation for airbag injuries
How Airbags Function
Airbags are compact safety devices made from light fabric and expanded by compressed gas. Located throughout the vehicle, the intent of installing airbags is to protect the vehicle’s passengers from the extreme forces experienced during a crash.
The driver and front passenger airbags – located in the steering wheel and behind a panel in the dashboard, respectively – protect the front occupants in the event of a head-on or near-head-on collision. The driver airbag is approximately the size of an average beach ball, while the front passenger airbag is larger to make up for the gap between the passenger and the dashboard. Other airbags are in the doors, meant to protect all the car’s occupants – front and back – in the event of a side-impact collision.
Crash sensors actuate the airbags. Designed to detect severe impacts, the sensors cause the airbags to deploy when they detect head-on or near-head-on collisions at any speed above eight to ten miles per hour. During a severe crash, the airbags deploy in 1/20th of a second. The bag quickly inflates with nitrogen or argon and then deflates shortly after the impact. These few seconds can cause serious damage, especially when dust and chemicals irritate the eyes and skin. The idea is that this is a small price to pay for a device that may save your life, unless the injuries from the airbag turn fatal.
How Airbags Can Malfunction
Airbag injuries may seem like a huge contradiction, but as cases of injury increase there may be a question of how useful airbags really are. There are several ways that an airbag can malfunction.
- The sensor could malfunction and deploy at the wrong time (non-crash)
- The sensor could malfunction and not deploy the airbag in a crash
- The sensor might deploy one side, but not the other
- The sensor could deploy the airbag a few seconds too late; this is a critical concern because the he effectiveness of airbags relies heavily on precise timing.
If you believe you have experienced an airbag that malfunctioned, the first thing to do is preserve all the evidence. This includes airbag, crash sensor, and your vehicle’s computer. Do not throw away or wipe clean any of this information. If your car sustains damage so severe that it is a total loss, the settlement will include the airbag malfunction.
Types of Airbag Burns
The intense speed at which airbags deploy can cause airbag burns. These burns can affect the head and face, arms, and torso. When combined with other injuries, serious burns can make physical therapy and other treatments more difficult. In some cases, airbags may also cause broken bones or fractures. Treatment for burns may include ointment and intensive care, while broken bones may require surgery and physical therapy.
What Type of Settlement Can You Get?
Airbag settlements can be very large. The bigger the settlement, the more likely you will want legal representation. Airbag injuries are highly compensated and can affect other injuries, which is why they are so complex. Airbag injuries can be complex, and can also be costly. Not only can the burns be extremely serious, but they can also affect recovery from other injuries relating to the collision. If you have sustained an injury caused by an airbag in Arizona, contact a Phoenix burn injury attorney as soon as possible.