Airbags were designed to prevent serious injury, in the event of an auto accident. Usually they do their job. However, they can also cause injury in some instances. Those who are harmed or injured by airbags may be able to filed a claim and seek compensation, if another party is at fault. The other party can be another driver causing the accident or the manufacturer of an airbag that has malfunctioned.
Injuries caused by car airbags can range from severe bruising, to broken bones, upper respiratory infections, or eye infections. The propellant used to inflate airbags is often the cause of infection. People injured by airbags may experience burns from combustion when certain chemicals are used. Airbag deployment can cause bruising of the face, chest, and arms. In some cases, injuries to the heart can occur from the impact of airbag deployment.
In one case, a Texas woman sued Honda Motor Company after being seriously injured when the airbag in her car deployed during a low speed crash. Explosion of the airbag caused the inflator to break apart, causing fragments to embed in her chest and arms. Ammonium Nitrate is a low cost chemical used as a propellant. Though auto makers are aware of its dangers, some continue to use it in their airbag systems.
There is no question airbags can save lives. But, if they don’t function as designed, they can also cause injury. In one research study, Peterson & Hoffer (1994) found insurance claims actually increased, in 16 of 21 car models that had adopted airbag systems. While there is no direct link to the airbags, it is possible people in those vehicles were injured by airbags.
Airbags in U.S. vehicles deploy more forcefully than those used in vehicles for European customers. This is one of the reasons there are so many airbag-related injuries in the U.S. Airbags can be particularly harmful to unconscious drivers, children, and smaller drivers. Side airbags can cause injury of a car’s occupants, when they lean against a window or door. Yet, there are no warnings to buyers and drivers of vehicles, when they put their children in the back seat. It’s natural for children to want to look out the window of a vehicle and therefore, lean against the door.
Airbag auto injury claims are typically handled by personal injury attorneys, who have the knowledge and experience to know when such claims can be filed. They understand the requirements and can help seek compensation for injuries from airbags. Anyone who has been injured by a deployed airbag should seek the guidance of an experienced attorney, rather than trying to file a claim on his or her own and navigating the legal system alone.
Here are some links with information on airbag injuries: