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How Can Airbags Injure You In An Accident?

Airbags are designed to reduce the number of injuries and save lives during a car crash. They deploy upon collision and cushion the vehicle’s occupants from hitting objects and structures inside the vehicle. However, while few people contest the value of airbags in the tens of thousands of crashes in which they have saved lives, there is a flip side to airbags that has too often resulted in injuries. Understanding how airbags may injure you is the key to understanding the risks of a car accident and it may help prevent accidents in the future according to our friends at Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC.

Speed And Inflation Of Airbags

Airbags are capable of deploying at a later stage of a crash. They can inflate and be fully deployed during the first 30 milliseconds after a crash at a speed of up to 200 miles per hour. This extraordinary speed of inflation occurs in a high-speed collision to safely secure and protect a vehicle occupant. Simultaneously, it has the potential to inflict injuries, particularly in a low-speed collision or if an occupant is too close to an inflating airbag.

Chemical Reactions

Many of the chemicals necessary for the nuclear propulsion type of airbag deployment can result in eye and respiratory problems, as well as burns. Stated another way, the burning or irritation of the eyes and skin or the development of respiratory problems that arises from exposure to the chemicals required to deploy an airbag are issues in and of themselves. Indeed, the testing necessary to support the deployment of these chemicals, like sodium azide, can be dangerous because it may involve inhaling the chemicals or absorbing them through the skin.

Types Of Airbag-Related Injuries

Facial And Head Injuries

Airbags inflate by rapidly releasing a gas from the airbag, which then flies outward and strikes an occupant in the chest and the face as a car accident lawyer knows all too well. If the occupant is too close to the airbag or if the force generated and delivered by deployment is too violent, this can result in facial fractures that are often coupled with brain injuries.

Chest And Abdominal Injuries

Airbags inflate so quickly that they can injure the chest, causing rib fractures, injured internal organs and even cause a heart attack. The abdomen can be injured, too, especially if occupants are leaning forward or in an unbelted position. When an airbag deploys, it can hit the arms and hands and cause a variety of upper extremity injuries including fractures, sprains, and contusions.

In an accident, sitting too close to the steering wheel or dashboard increases the risk of an airbag injury. Ten inches is considered a minimum safe distance between chest and an airbag. Seatbelts work together with airbags to offer the greatest protection. Not wearing a seatbelt or wearing it incorrectly can make airbag injuries more severe.

While airbags are there to help prevent worse injuries, they can still hurt you. If you are involved in an accident, you should contact a lawyer near you immediately for help.