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Airbag Injuries Resulting from Automobile Accidents
Airbags have been used in cars for many years now. While airbags do save lives, they can also be problematic. For example, they can cause injury and have even caused death in some cases. Airbags are not like a pillow that deploys to protect you in the event of a car accident. Rather, they come out of a dashboard at high speeds that can reach up to 200 miles per hour (mph). Because of this, if you sit too close to the airbag you can be seriously injured.
Common Airbag Injuries
Many airbag injuries are eye injuries, which can range from minor to serious. In one study, eye injuries ranged from bruises in the eye socket to ruptured eyeballs which resulted in blindness. The study also found that everyone suffered significant eye trauma to the soft tissues and bones of the eye socket and/or serious injury to the eyeball itself. The most common eyeball injuries are socket bruising and bleeding in the eyeball. Studies have also found that some individuals suffer later eye problems.
Many other injuries can be caused by airbags. For example, depending on where your arms are, an airbag can break bones in your arms or cause your arms to fly into your face causing other injuries.
Airbag Injury Statistics
It is hard to gauge precise statistics on airbag injuries because if they are reported, they are reported voluntarily. Some statistics that have been collected include the following:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that airbags have saved over 10,000 lives
- The NHTSA states that the use of a seatbelt combined with an airbag prevents serious head injury 81% of the time and serous chest injury 66% of the time
- According to the NHTSA, airbags have caused over 200 deaths since 1990, with most of the deaths being children
- Airbags cause more incidental injuries and broken bones than deaths in children, infants in rear-facing safety seats in the front seat, and those who sit closer than 10 inches to the steering wheel are at the greatest risk
Why Do Airbags Cause Injuries?
One reason for the occurrence of airbag injuries is the high speeds at which airbags are deployed, which is also necessary for them to be effective. In addition, airbags were originally designed for males who are 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weigh 180 lbs. Because of this, airbags were only tested on individuals of this size and weight causing problems.
Other Reasons for Airbag Injuries
Even if one is careful and doesn’t sit too close to the wheel, airbags can still cause serious injury. Sometimes airbag injuries will be due to improper manufacturer design, production, or installation of the airbag. Some examples of defective airbags include the following:
- Airbags that deploy with too much force (more force than is necessary)
- Airbags that deploy when unnecessary (e.g., in minor auto accidents when they are not supposed to deploy)
- Airbags that fail to deploy when they are supposed to
I’ve Suffered an Airbag Injury, Do I Need a Lawyer?
Anytime you are involved in an automobile accident you should contact a lawyer right away. If you have been injured by an airbag, an experienced attorney can help you determine whether the airbag was defective and if so what rights and remedies you have available.
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Last Modified: 06-25-2013 11:42 AM PDT
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