Airbag Injuries Resulting from a Car Accident – St. Louis Lawyer
While airbags are an essential safety feature that can save lives, they are also known to be a cause of injuries in a car accident.
The first airbags were installed way back in the 50s, and by 1995, almost 70 percent of the vehicles manufactured in the U.S. were equipped with airbags. In late 90s a law was passed that required all cars manufactured on or after 1998 to have airbags. While airbags are an essential safety feature that can save lives, they are also known to be a cause of injuries. In this post, our St. Louis automobile accident lawyer will discuss airbags injuries in detail and who is more likely to suffer these injuries in a car accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags save thousands of lives each year. However, they can also cause severe and even permanent injuries. Since 2009, as many as 29,000 lives have been saved by airbags.
How do airbags save lives?
Airbags are made of strong, but light fabric packed into various locations throughout the vehicle. The one on the driver’s side is packed into the steering wheel, and the one on the passenger side is stored behind the dashboard.
Airbags are connected to a series of crash sensors that are placed throughout the vehicle, and can sense when the vehicle has been in a crash. These sensors then send signals to the airbags, and cause them to deploy in event of a crash.
When the sensor senses that there is a crash, it sends an electronic signal to an inflator system that causes the airbag to inflate. This system sets off a chemical reaction, which produces an explosion of argon or nitrogen gas that fills the airbag. All this happens in a matter of milliseconds. The chemical explosions cause the airbag to deploy at a high speed of 100MPH. In fact, this speed is higher than most crashes, and can cause serious injuries.
Who is most likely to suffer airbag injuries?
Almost 2.5 percent of drivers involved in serious car accidents are likely to sustain injuries due to airbag deployment. It is interesting to note that many airbag injuries occur in low speed crashes. Shorter people are located closer to the airbags, and are therefore at a greater risk of an injury. Children and the elderly are also more prone to airbag injuries.
Types of airbag injuries
Airbag deployment can cause a variety of injuries. The following are some ways in which airbags can cause injuries:
- The high speed at which the airbags deploy can cause lacerations, impact burns and abrasions
- Driver and passengers can sustain chemical burns if the airbag gets ripped and the chemicals are released
- The chemical reaction that causes the airbags to inflate can cause burns
- If the chemicals are released into the air and are inhaled, it can trigger an asthma attack
- Airbag deployment can cause substantial trauma to the sternum, and because the right ventricle is located just behind the sternum, the impact can result in cardiac and pulmonary complications. It can also lead to a ruptured right atrium or a cardiac contusion
- Airbag deployment can cause fractures in the skull, rib, nose, elbow, fingers and eye socket
- Eye injuries
- Organ failure and internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury, Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Herniated discs