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How do Airbag Injuries Occur?

By: Anapol Weiss

Airbags save countless lives every year, as they protect drivers and passengers from striking the interior of the vehicle in the event of a collision. Unfortunately, the defective design and/or manufacture of an airbag can do much more harm than good in some situations.

An airbag is essentially a deflated balloon that rapidly inflates via a deceleration sensor in the vehicle, according to a 2002 review of injuries associated with airbag deployment published in the Emergency Medicine Journal. Drivers are protected from steering wheel impact, and additional airbags provide protection against impact with the dashboard or side panels.

Vehicle occupants can sustain severe and preventable injuries if an airbag’s sensitivity is inappropriate. If the deceleration sensor is set too high, for example, an airbag may fail to deploy in certain collisions during which an occupant needed the protection. On the other hand, if the sensor is too sensitive, the airbag may deploy when it is not needed. An airbag must also fully inflate at the right time – inflation that occurs too early or too late will fail to protect the occupant from impact with the interior.

Injuries can result from all stages of airbag deployment and from a number of occurrences that should not have happened. These issues may include:

  • Non-deployment
  • Spontaneous deployment
  • Chemicals used to inflate the bag
  • Inappropriate contact with the bag
  • Over-rapid deflation
  • Metal shrapnel punching out of the bag

Decades of recalls have resulted from other types of airbag defects that have killed and severely injured drivers and passengers. For example, automakers recalled millions of vehicles with potentially explosive Takata airbags that shot shrapnel at people during a crash.

Taking Action

There’s no doubt that airbags protect people every day, but it is the manufacturers’ responsibility to design and construct a trustworthy and safe product. When they fail to do so, they must be held accountable for letting drivers and passengers get hurt.

Contact our firm for assistance if your airbag failed to work properly and resulted in injuries. We can investigate the situation and answer your legal questions.