When you are involved in a car accident, you trust that your vehicle’s protective devices will help you avoid injury. Unfortunately, sometimes the devices that are supposed to offer us protection actually result in significant injury. When a car’s airbag deploys during an accident, it does so at a very high speed. It is hot and covered in chemicals that help it deploy quickly. This can result in serious injury to the driver and passengers.
Airbags can cause significant injuries that may even result in permanent disability and impairment. When this occurs, you need an experienced Arkansas car accident lawyer fighting for you and your rights to compensation. Without an attorney on your side, you may not recover the money you need to pay all of your expenses.
How Do Airbags Work?
Airbags are located in the steering wheel and in the panel on the dashboard in front of the passenger. Some cars also have side-impact airbags that help protect passengers in T-bone collisions. These airbags are made of a light material that inflates quickly during certain types of accidents. The airbags themselves are connected to a crash sensor. This sensor determines when to deploy the airbag. Typically, head-on collisions or near head-on collisions will trigger this sensor, and the airbag will deploy. An airbag inflates in about 1/20th of a second.
Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong when an airbag deploys. The crash sensor can malfunction, causing it to deploy at the wrong time or not at all. In some cases, the airbag might deploy, but deploy too late. The timing of an airbag is critical to offering protection in an accident. If the sensor malfunctions and the airbag deploys even a microsecond too late, it could cause serious and even fatal injuries to the driver or passenger.
Common Airbag Injuries
When an airbags malfunction, it can cause serious injury. The most common types of injuries include, but are not limited to:
How to Reduce Serious Airbag Injury
While you cannot prevent an airbag sensor from malfunctioning, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of suffering a serious airbag injury.
- Always wear your seat belt
- Children under 12 should never ride in the front seat
- Use correct car seats for children
- Keep seats positioned at least 10 inches back from the airbag
The most important of those tips is to always wear your seat belt. Between 1990 and 2008, 80 percent of airbag-related deaths were to victims who were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.
When Airbags Kill
Sadly, some defective airbags can result in life-threatening injuries and death. Over the last several years, roughly 41.6 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags were recalled. These defective airbags caused significant injury and death when they deployed suddenly. Over 19 different automakers were forced to recall some of their car models.
The problem was that the metal cartridge was loaded with propellant wafers. When it ruptured in a crash, metal shards were being sprayed throughout the passenger cabin. The result was serious lacerations and death to passengers and drivers.
NHTSA determined that the problem was with airbags using an ammonium nitrate-based propellant. At high temperatures, this caused the airbags to inflate improperly and send dangerous metal shrapnel throughout the cabin. There have been at least 24 deaths and over 300 injuries due to this one recall alone.
Filing an Airbag Lawsuit
If your airbag caused an injury, it is important to speak to an experienced Arkansas car accident lawyer immediately. If a defective airbag led to your injury, your attorney will need to prove that some component of the airbag was defective. This is typically a product liability case. In some cases, your attorney may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver, as well as a product liability lawsuit against the airbag manufacturer or automobile manufacturer.
After a car accident that resulted in airbag injuries, it is important to take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention
- Fill out a police report
- Exchange information with at-fault driver
- Gather evidence
- Preserve the defective airbag and evidence related to it
- Preserve the crash sensor
- Call the insurance company
- Call an experienced attorney
It is important not to let the insurer take possession of your vehicle after your accident. Even if they declare your car to be a total loss, you must hold on to the evidence until you can speak to an experienced attorney.
Our Experience Matters
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our car accident injury lawyers have the experience and resources needed to tackle airbag injuries. These injuries can cause horrific facial injuries, brain damage, and a lifetime of suffering. We have helped many accident victims in Arkansas and Tennessee rebuild their lives again after an airbag injury. Here are just a few of the injury settlements we have obtained for our clients.
- $1,215,000 – a car accident that caused head injuries and broken bones
- $700,000 – a car accident that caused brain injuries and a fractured back
- $550,000 – a car accident that caused brain injuries and broken bones
- $50,000 – a car accident that caused broken front teeth
We’re There When You Need Us
If you’ve suffered an airbag injury in an accident you need a law firm on your side. At Rainwater, Holt, & Sexton, our Arkansas car accident attorneys know that airbags can result in serious injuries that can lead to a lifetime of pain. When this happens, you need an experienced and skilled law firm fighting for you and your future.
With six offices conveniently located throughout Arkansas and Tennessee—Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, and Memphis—our lawyers are there whenever you need us. Fill out a free contact request form or simply dial (800) 767-4815 and tell us your story.
Tell us how we can help.
Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Auto Accident Injury Blog
Knowing what insurance adjusters are looking for when considering your car accident insurance claim will better prepare you should you get into an accident. When you are making a claim with your own insurance company, you may believe that they are on your side. But this isn’t always true—insurance companies are looking for any reason… Read more »
The open road is a dangerous place. At any given moment, there are 218 million cars, large trucks, and motorcycles traveling on the road, according to IHS Automotive. These drivers are commuting to and from work, transporting goods, and taking vacations. Unfortunately, all of these drivers on the road means a greater chance of getting… Read more »
Students are beginning to return to the classroom across Arkansas and Tennesee, and that means more vehicles and pedestrians are on the road. The car accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton know that increased traffic can also increase the risk of collisions between vehicles and children. In fact, according to recent statistics, more than… Read more »