Airbags are vital safety devices in any vehicle, but it is possible for these devices to cause severe injuries when they malfunction. Even functional airbags that deploy as intended can cause serious injuries.
If you or a loved one recently had a car accident and suffered injuries from an airbag, or sustained injuries because an airbag failed to deploy correctly, you may have grounds for legal action.
How Can an Airbag Cause Injuries?
Airbags deploy when a vehicle’s sensors detect a crash impact. As soon as the vehicle identifies a crash, the airbags deploy to cushion the vehicle’s occupants from the blow. Several things may go wrong and injure the vehicle’s occupants.
- An airbag may deploy too late.
- The airbag may not fully deploy, or it may only partially deploy and fail to fully cushion the force of impact.
- The airbag may burst due to a defect, releasing chemical irritants inside the vehicle in addition to failing to cushion the vehicle’s occupants from the crash force.
- The airbag may deploy in error, suddenly inflating due to something other than a crash or a defect in the vehicle’s sensor system.
- When airbags deploy correctly, they can easily cause facial injuries, including “airbag burns,” or friction burns from the airbag striking a vehicle occupant very quickly.
These are just a few examples of how airbags can cause injuries. Depending on the nature of an airbag injury, a victim could have several options for legal recovery.
Taking Legal Action for an Airbag Injury
If another driver caused your accident, he or she is likely liable for all the resulting injuries and other damages, including those sustained by your airbag if the airbag functioned correctly. If it did not, the at-fault driver is not technically liable for your airbag injuries. Liability may instead fall to the vehicle manufacturer, the airbag manufacturer, or the technician who installed the airbag if it had been replaced after a previous accident.
In the event the airbag deployed correctly, the victim would simply include his or her airbag injuries as damages in his or her lawsuit. If the airbag malfunctioned, the victim would need to pursue a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer or the airbag manufacturer. A product liability claim functions similarly to a personal injury claim, but the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence. Instead, the plaintiff only needs to prove the product in question is defective and the sole cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Possible Injuries From Airbags
Airbags can easily cause several types of serious injuries.
- Maxillofacial injuries such as bone fractures
- Injuries to the eyes that may impair vision in the future
- Traumatic head injuries, such as a concussion from the force of impact with an airbag
- Abrasion burns
- Bruises and contusions in the face
- Whiplash, or a soft tissue injury to the neck due to the force of the neck snapping backward from the airbag
- Chemicals released from a ruptured airbag can irritate the eyes and respiratory system
Some of these injuries may lead to substantial medical bills, result in permanent injuries or disabilities, and interfere with a victim’s ability to work in the future.
Taking legal action for airbag injuries can be a complicated process. Having an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer assist you with the legal process in Arizona can be incredibly beneficial, both increasing the chances of securing a recovery and lightening your burden while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
A lawsuit against a negligent driver or a defective product manufacturer can help an airbag injury victim secure compensation for his or her immediate and future medical expenses resulting from the incident and additional compensation for other damages like vehicle repair and replacement costs and lost income.