If you’ve been behind the wheel when your car’s airbag has deployed, you may have been surprised by the force with which it occurred. Many individuals have incurred serious injuries from the safety device that would not have resulted from the accident itself. If you believe you may have incurred injuries from your airbag, read on to discover the sorts of injuries that can result from airbag deployment, ways to prevent these injuries, and what you can do about it if you are hurt.
Malfunctioning or Working Properly, Airbags Can Injure Vehicle Occupants
Recently, an owner of a Honda Civic filed a lawsuit against the car manufacturer, as well as the manufacturer of the airbag itself and the car dealership, for injuries she received when her airbag deployed. The airbag, known by the manufacturer to cause serious injury in the past, exploded upon impact, sending metal shrapnel into the woman’s neck, puncturing her airway and causing what may be permanent damage to her trachea. These airbags, made by Japanese manufacturer Takata, have now been the subject of multiple recalls and many reported injuries.
Even when an airbag is not defective, the heat and force with which an airbag is deployed can cause serious harm to passengers and drivers. The heated gas used to inflate airbags can cause burn injuries to the face, hands, arms or chest. The impact of the bag can break noses, fingers, and ribs. Hearing damage can result from the explosion which results in airbag inflation. Cardiologists have found that, due to the impact that an airbag has on the chest, victims can incur damage to the heart, including damaged valves and ruptured atria.
Protect Yourself From Airbag Injuries
The best way to protect yourself and your passengers from airbag injuries are to ensure that all occupants of the vehicle are wearing seatbelts. Also, being too close to an airbag when it deploys is a major factor in fatal airbag injuries, especially for shorter adults and children, and researchers estimate that 80% of all persons fatally injured by an airbag were not belted in at the time of the airbag deployment.
Experts recommend that you sit at least 10 inches from the steering wheel or deployment site. Be sure not to install any cell phone accessories or DVD players on an airbag deployment site, as those can become dangerous projectiles when the airbag deploys. Children under 12 should never sit in the front seat, nor should rear-facing safety seats be installed in a front seat, as airbags can be especially dangerous for children seated directly in front of them.
If you’ve been injured by an airbag during a car accident in the Hudson Valley, contact experienced car accident and product liability law firm Basch & Keegan for a consultation on your claims, at (845) 251-4545.