Frontal airbags have saved over 40,000 lives since their introduction in the late 1970s. While these devices can prevent fatal consequences in a crash, they can also cause injuries in a car accident. Facial lacerations and broken noses are just a few of the many different kinds of airbag injuries sustained in a crash—and if the airbag is faulty, the victim’s life may not be saved after all.
Known Airbag Issues That Can Lead to Injuries
Airbags should be rigorously tested to identify any issues or potential failures before they're installed in vehicles. If a defective airbag causes injury, the manufacturer or automaker may be held liable for a victim’s medical bills, loss of income, lost property, and pain and suffering.
The most common factors that contribute to airbag injuries include:
- Exploding bags. Between 2104 and 2017, more than 19 different automakers recalled millions of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags. A chemical propellant without a proper drying agent caused the airbags’ inflators to explode, sending shrapnel into the faces and bodies of the victims. At press time, 11 people died and approximately 180 people suffered injuries due to this defect.
- Sensor malfunctions. The airbag will only deploy if the vehicle’s sensors detect the correct speed, braking, and impact. A malfunctioning sensor can cause the airbag to activate when there isn’t a crash, or not deploy when a crash occurs.
- Inflation and chemical problems. Some airbags may inflate too rapidly and burst, or don't inflate quickly enough to cushion the impact of a crash. In addition, certain chemical agents used to enable deployment may cause breathing problems, abrasions, burn injuries, blindness, or hearing loss.
- Seat positioning. Airbags work best when a person is sitting upright with his feet on the floor. Seats may be improperly designed or positioned in a way that makes the airbag or the seat belt less effective.
- On-off switches. There are some instances, such as when individuals with medical conditions are in the passenger’s seat, when it may be safer if the frontal air bag isn't deployed during a crash. In these cases, airbags without on-off switches can cause severe injuries.
- Previous deployment. Airbags should be replaced after each deployment, but some sellers of used vehicles may attempt to reuse a deployed airbag to save costs. Consequently, airbags may be torn or unable to release properly.
If you were injured by an airbag or due to a negligent driver, use the contact form below to reach out to our Florida injury attorneys and set up your free consultation.