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How an Airbag Can Injure a Driver During a Collision

woman grabbing neck with deployed airbagCar crashes have the potential to cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. The body and especially the head are often jostled around quite forcefully during a collision, increasing the likelihood of severe injury.

That is why cars have airbags. According to an estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, frontal airbags saved more than 50,000 lives. In a frontal crash, frontal airbags can reduce driver fatalities by 29 percent.

Unfortunately, airbags themselves could cause injuries to drivers – everything from minor scrapes and abrasions to lesions on the eyes and ears. Below, we discuss common injuries caused by airbags in vehicle collisions and how these injuries may occur.

If you were injured in a crash and suffered injuries, including injuries caused by an airbag, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your damages. There are no upfront fees for our services, and we do not get paid unless you get paid. We have secured $100 million in compensation.

Why Airbags May Injure Drivers

Airbag injuries are caused by contacting the airbag during a crash or from substances emitted when the airbag deploys. Airbags deploy at somewhere between 100 and 220 miles per hour and they require less than 1/20th of a second to fully inflate.

While airbags are meant to prevent drivers from getting ejected from their vehicles and prevent their upper bodies from hitting the windshield, steering wheel or dashboard, they may cause injuries when drivers make contact with them.

It is important to note that sitting too close to the steering wheel or not sitting in the center of the seat with your back to the seatback could make an airbag injury more likely. You should also avoid putting your arms or legs over the panel where the airbag deploys. Typically, you want to stay a minimum of 10 inches away from the steering wheel.

Common Airbag Injuries Suffered in Collisions

You could suffer various injuries when the frontal airbag deploys in a collision. Some of these injuries include:

Facial Injuries

The face can easily get injured by an airbag, as one of the main purposes of an airbag is to prevent your face from hitting the steering wheel or anything else.

The force of the airbag deployment could cause surface abrasions or burns on your face. The airbag could also hit one of your eyes, causing temporary or even permanent blindness. Other eye injuries include corneal abrasions and retinal detachments. The airbag could fracture bones in your face as well.

Airbags may also cause crash victims to suffer temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), which affects the jaw muscles and nerves in the jaw.

Irritant Dermatitis

This often happens to the upper chest, arms and face. This condition may result from exposure to gases and abrasive powders.

Symptoms of irritant dermatitis may include:

  • Red patches on the skin
  • Swelling
  • Purpura
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging

Lesions and Friction Burns

Contacting the airbag could result in abrasions, lacerations and friction burns. You could suffer these injuries to your:

  • Hands
  • Wrists
  • Forearms
  • Head
  • Neck
  • Face

Chemical Burns

Automakers use nitrogen to inflate airbags, and the deployment of the airbag also releases carbon dioxide. These chemicals can combine to form sodium hydroxide, which could cause chemical burns to your face, arms or other body parts. If this substance penetrates the skin, it could cause deep-tissue injuries.

If the airbag ruptures during deployment, severe burns are more likely to occur. If this happens, there is a high risk for infection, scarring and even loss of mobility.

Thermal Burns

You could suffer thermal burns by making direct contact with high-temperature gases. Your clothes could also melt, resulting in thermal burns.

Brain Injuries

You could suffer a concussion when your head hits the airbag. This is much more likely for younger and smaller crash victims. It is possible to suffer other traumatic brain injuries when your face hits the airbag. When the head is moving forward and suddenly stops, the brain could get jostled around inside the skull, resulting in a variety of injuries.

It is important to remember the brain has a limited ability to heal after an injury. That means the damage from a brain injury could be permanent.

Neck Injuries

You could suffer a spinal cord injury, such as a herniated disc or a fractured vertebra. A spinal cord injury could result in significant pain, limited mobility and even paralysis. When people fracture their spinal cord, they may lose all feeling below the site of the injury.

Internal Damage

Your internal organs could suffer damage, including:

  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Lungs
  • Heart

You could suffer internal bleeding or bruising. You could also suffer lung irritation from breathing in chemicals released during airbag deployment. You may begin having asthma attacks.

Schmidt Kramer is Here to Help. Call to Learn More

Recovering full compensation for injuries from a car crash is challenging without help from an experienced attorney. At Schmidt Kramer, our Harrisburg-based auto accident lawyers have been helping crash victims for more than three decades and have obtained millions in compensation.

The initial consultation is free and comes with no legal obligations. That means you do not have to hire our firm if we can validate your claim. There are also no fees while we work on your claim.

Schmidt Kramer. Proven Results. Call (717) 727-1837.