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During a car accident, the two best safety devices in the car are seatbelts and airbags. When a car’s airbag deploys during an accident, it comes out from the dashboard at an extremely high speed. The airbag is also hot and likely covered with dust and chemicals that assist in deployment. While airbags are undeniably vital to saving lives and preventing many car accident injuries, they can also cause injuries to drivers and passengers. When most people think of car accident injuries, they think of injuries inflicted by the other motorist’s negligence. However, an airbags deployment or lack of deployment during an accident is also the result of many common car accident injuries. 

Victims who suffer injuries in a car accident because of a negligent driver and their airbag may be unsure how to recover the fair compensation they deserve. If another party injures the victim, they can file personal injury claims against the other driver and the party liable for the airbag injuries. Whether your airbag deployed without an accident or caused you injuries during an accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help navigate the legal process. A California personal injury lawyer will know which legal route is best to ensure you get the maximum benefits from your claim. 

6 Ways an Airbag Can Injure You in a Car Accident

Airbags are meant to keep drivers and passengers safe during an accident. Unfortunately, malfunctions and other airbag errors such as late or early deployment can severely injure drivers instead of protecting them. Below is a list of six ways an airbag can injure drivers and passengers in an accident.

1. Facial Fractures

Airbags deploy at an extremely high speed that can cause severe trauma and broken bones. Fragile bones near the nose and eyes can fracture during deployment, and the high-speed collision can also damage the teeth and jaw. 

2. Hearing Damage

A small explosion occurs when the steering wheel deploys the airbag. This explosion can reach sounds as loud as 160 decibels. Unfortunately, the human ear can only process sounds up to 90 decibels before suffering permanent hearing damage.

3. Vision Loss

Your eyes are directly in the path of the airbag when it deploys, leaving them to absorb the full force of the bag. A broken bone in the skull or around the eye sockets can damage the eyes themselves or the optic nerve, causing blindness. Airbags are also filled with sodium azide, which can irritate the eyes.

4. Neck and Back Injuries 

Airbags are designed to prevent traumatic brain injuries by protecting drivers’ and passengers’ heads. However, a collision still places pressure on the neck and upper back, potentially damaging the spinal cord. Additionally, you can also experience whiplash, which occurs when the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulders are stretched.

5. Chemical Burns and Scars

Airbags can cause two types of burns: thermal and chemical burns. 

  • Thermal burns (rug burns) occur when the skin is damaged by rough material (the fabric of the airbag scraping across your face at high speed can result in first or second-degree burns)
  • Chemical burns occur when acidic chemicals touch the skin leading to irritation or burns (if the airbag ruptures during a collision, the high-temperature nitrogen gas and sodium azide ignite, resulting in second or third-degree burns on the face and hands)

Burns and scars from either the speed of deployment or the ignited chemicals can leave victims with permanent disfigurements. 

6. Internal Injuries 

Internal injuries are wounds sustained to the body’s organs (lungs, kidneys, liver, etc.). The airbag helps prevent the majority of internal injuries. Unfortunately, they do not eliminate the risks of internal trauma. During a high-speed collision, the driver can be thrown against the steering wheel, putting pressure on the chest leading to: 

  • Fractured ribs 
  • Punctured lungs 
  • Damage to liver, spleen, or heart 
  • Internal bleeding
  • Bruising on the chest 

In addition to the physical trauma, the sodium azide in airbags can also irritate the lungs. 

Setareh Law Is Here to Help Your Recover Fair Compensation after a Car Accident 

You are entitled to fair compensation if you were injured by a negligent driver and suffered airbag-related injuries. Determining how to pursue financial compensation after such an accident can be complicated; you should consult a trusted California personal injury lawyer to protect your right to compensation. 

At Setareh Law, we aggressively advocate for the rights and interests of our clients who have been injured in accidents caused by another party’s negligence. Setareh Law is proud to offer unparalleled client service and in being available for our clients around the clock during such a turbulent time in their lives. Schedule a consultation with us today through our website’s contact form or call (310) 659-1826. We also speak Spanish.