According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), frontal airbags have saved 50,000 lives since Chrysler became the first American auto manufacturer to include them as standard equipment. Airbags work by “catching” you and slowing you down before you strike the steering wheel or dashboard.
However, airbags also have a dark side. These safety devices have killed or injured several hundred people. Many of these airbags were defective, but some caused injuries while functioning properly.
If you’ve sustained airbag injuries in a car accident in San Antonio, TX, George Salinas Injury Lawyers is here to help. Contact our law office for a free initial consultation with an experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer.
How Our San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Pursue Compensation for Airbag Injuries
George Salinas Injury Lawyers was founded to provide personal injury legal services to accident victims in San Antonio, Texas. Our attorneys have over 110 years of combined experience representing injured clients against at-fault parties and their insurance companies.
After a collision, our San Antonio personal injury lawyers can help you by providing the following:
- A free consultation to discuss your case and help you decide how to proceed
- A legal team with a record of recovering hundreds of millions of dollars
- Aggressive representation to stand up to insurers for a fair outcome
A car accident can leave you with serious injuries regardless of whether your airbag deploys. Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the compensation you can seek for your car crash injuries.
How Many Airbag Injuries Happen?
Texas does not report the number of fatalities and injuries from airbags for a few reasons. First, a very small number of people have died from properly functioning airbags. According to a study by the NHTSA, only 242 people have died from airbag injuries since 1992. This translates to an average of 7.8 people per year.
Second, even this low number is misleading because the NHTSA changed its airbag regulations in 1998 and again in 2007 to weaken airbag inflators and require sensors to automatically deactivate airbags for smaller occupants. These new regulations further reduced airbag injuries and deaths from properly functioning airbags.
On the other hand, defective airbags pose a significant danger to vehicle occupants. Takata was required to recall millions of airbag inflators. These inflators degraded in hot, humid air, resulting in sudden, unprompted deployment. As a result, drivers’ airbags would suddenly deploy under normal driving conditions.
The other problem with the Takata airbags is that the inflators could explode. Rather than a controlled but rapid release of gases, the defective inflators blew apart. Several drivers were injured or killed by flying shrapnel from these explosions.
In total, 26 deaths and over 400 injuries were blamed on defective Takata airbags.
Causes and Effects of Airbag Injuries
Almost all airbag deployments have the potential to cause minor injuries. When the airbag deploys in a car accident, the vehicle occupant will strike the airbag with force proportional to the vehicle’s speed. In a high-speed collision, a vehicle occupant can suffer facial bruises, neck strain or sprain, or a broken nose.
Also, the force of the inflators can injure a driver’s hands. The force of the airbag cover can tear finger ligaments or break finger bones when the airbag deploys.
Serious airbag injuries happen for a few reasons:
Short Vehicle Occupants
Short adults and children can get struck in the head when the airbag deploys. This collision can snap the occupant’s head back, injuring or breaking their neck.
Infants in rear-facing car seats can get flipped over when the airbag strikes them. This scenario explains why children in rear-facing car seats should always ride in the back seat.
Vehicles older than 1998 contain inflators that comply with the NHTSA’s old requirements. These regulations mandated more powerful inflators than those used today.
These overpowered inflators cause airbags to inflate faster and with significantly more force than necessary to catch you during a car accident. You can get injured by the sheer power of the airbag inflation, particularly if you normally sit close to the steering wheel or dashboard.
Failure To Use Seat Belts
Airbags work best when combined with seat belts. Each safety device performs a different function, and they are not interchangeable. Your seat belt stops your body from moving forward after a sudden stop. But your head and neck will whip forward when your chest hits your seat belt.
Your airbag reduces the whipping force. As a result, you should experience less severe injuries to your head, neck, and brain.
Airbags are not designed to bounce you back. Instead, they are designed to catch you, then slowly deflate to slow your forward motion. When you do not wear a seat belt, your body weight could cause the airbag to deflate too fast and fail to slow you down.
Liability For Airbag Injuries
The at-fault driver bears liability for any injuries resulting from the crash. Since their actions caused your airbag to deploy, they will be liable for any resulting losses. Manufacturers of defective airbags also bear strict liability for injuries resulting from their products.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Antonio Car Accident Lawyers To Discuss Your Airbag Injuries
Airbag injuries can significantly increase your recovery time from your car accident. Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers at (210) 225-0909 for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you recover compensation after your car crash.
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