In some car accidents, the worst injuries suffered by motorists are caused by the airbags that are meant to protect them. If an airbag is designed defectively or inflates incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good during a crash.
Takata airbags have become synonymous with life-threatening airbag defects in recent years. Around the globe, an uncounted number of motorists have been seriously injured by defective Takata airbags and more than a dozen have died because the airbags can explode violently and send sharp shrapnel into the car’s cab, sometimes even without any impact at all.
Injuries that can be caused by an exploding airbag include:
- Lacerations: The worst injuries caused by the defective Takata airbags were laceration injuries. The shrapnel was ejected from the airbag at such a fast velocity that it became deadly projectiles, causing deep, fatal cuts that could not be treated before paramedics could arrive.
- Contusions: Blunt-force trauma from being struck by pieces of an exploding airbag can cause contusions or even concussions, depending on what part of the body was struck.
- Burns: In less severe cases, a motorist can be burned by an airbag as it detonates. The chemical reaction that triggers the detonation and inflation can cause a heat reaction that might burn any skin that was resting against the steering wheel at the time of the crash.
- Wrist and arm fractures: The force of an airbag detonation can also be strong enough to cause bone fractures. For example, if your wrists were resting near the point of detonation, then you could suffer painful wrist fractures that leave you debilitated for weeks as you recover.
- Breathing difficulties: Some airbags use small amounts of materials capable of creating a smoky, fine particulate upon detonation. Breathing in this particulate can cause severe breathing difficulties, especially for those with asthma.
- Hearing loss: The burst of an airbag can be thunderous. The intensity of the blast might even be enough to rupture an eardrum, causing temporary deafness or permanent hearing loss.
Protecting Yourself from Airbag Injuries
You will not always know when the airbag in your vehicle is dangerously defective because recalls usually do not occur until several people have been hurt in the same way. To do your best to protect yourself from airbag injuries, there are several things you can do the next time you drive.
When driving, you should:
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Sit with 10 or more inches between yourself and the steering wheel.
- Seat children under 12 in the backseat.
The majority of serious airbag injuries are suffered by people who are seated too close to the steering wheel and were not wearing their seatbelts. Children are also at risk of a severe injury caused by airbags, which your automobile should warn about. Following the aforementioned safety steps should greatly reduce your chances of being hurt by a defective airbag.
Can You Sue After an Airbag Injury?
Yes, you do have the right to file an injury claim against the company that made the airbag that hurt you. The automobile manufacturer that purchased and installed the airbags could also be liable if it should have already known that the airbag was unsafe for use. Working with a local attorney is a simple way to explore your rights as an injured motorist or someone who lost a loved one in a fatal airbag injury case.
Todd Miner Law offers experienced legal representation to the wrongfully injured of Orlando. If you were injured by a defective airbag and live in or near Orlando, please reach out to our attorneys right away. Contact our firm by calling (407) 269-5877 to start your case.