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The Hidden Dangers Of Airbag Deployment: Injuries You Might Not Expect

The Hidden Dangers Of Airbag Deployment Injuries You Might Not Expect

Airbags are outfitted in every car that comes off the manufacturing line. Since 1999, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that front airbags are an essential and required safety component that must be included in the manufacturing of cars. Yet, when airbags activate, they have been known to cause airbag deployment injuries. So, the next logical question is: Are airbags more harmful or helpful as a safety mechanism in a car? After a car accident, not only is it helpful to seek medical attention to have one’s injuries evaluated and treated, but it can also be advantageous to speak with a personal injury attorney to learn more about legal options that may exist to recover one’s damages.

What Injuries Can Airbags Cause?

Airbags are put in cars to help shield and cushion occupants from harm. Considering that cars have safety ratings and those that have more airbags tend to have higher safety ratings it would only make sense that airbags provide a great deal of benefits should a collision happen. With this same point of view, it would be feasible to believe that airbags do not cause physical bodily harm. However, that is not the case and there are several airbag deployment injuries that a car occupant can suffer when an airbag goes off. Some of them include the following:

Injuries to the Face: For front-seat passengers that have airbags deployed, this may go directly into their face and head. The resulting impact can cause facial bone fractures, lacerations, bruising, and the potential that injuries will lead to disfigurement.

Damage to the Eyes and Vision Loss: As the force of an airbag deploying hits the face, it not only can harm the structure of the head but impact the vulnerable and fragile eye area. The damage to the eyes and breaks in the bones surrounding the eye can hit the optic nerve causing irreversible blindness.

Hearing Loss: In addition to the sheer force of an airbag going off damaging to a person’s face and body, the sound of an airbag’s deployment can also be quite loud. Airbags can cause a sound that reaches as high as 160 decibels, which is far louder than what the human ear can process without harm. This means that it is very possible that the sound of an airbag deploying can be detrimental to one’s hearing and actually lead to hearing loss.

Facial Burns: The rough texture of the material that makes airbags can scrape and scratch the skin on the face. This can lead to serious thermal burns. While these thermal burns are incurred through friction in a manner similar to rope or carpet burns, airbags also present chemical components that can pose additional risks if the airbag is punctured. When the chemical contents of the airbag are released, chemical burns to the face are also possible. These burns can be quite serious and severe.

Brain Injuries: Hitting the head so rapidly and with such force can cause the brain to smash into the skull. This can damage brain tissue and lead to traumatic brain injuries.

Head and Neck Injuries: Spinal damage, whiplash, and strained muscles in the upper body can result when an airbag pushes the body beyond its natural range of motion and stretches muscles and tendons far beyond where they were designed to go.

Lung Damage: Just as the chemicals contained inside airbags can leave chemical burns on the skin, these same chemicals can harm the lungs if inhaled. Airbags that sustain cuts may allow gaseous chemicals to escape directly into an accident victim’s face, making inhalation of the fumes difficult or impossible to avoid. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, it is possible that even a car occupant not directly impacted by the punctured airbag might inhale sufficient chemical fumes to induce lung damage.

Are Airbags Harmful or Helpful?

Due to the force of impact, the noise involved, and the chemicals contained inside an airbag’s balloon, airbags can inflict injury on drivers and passengers even when operating exactly as designed. Defective airbags present another cause for concern, as these may deploy unexpectedly without a crash ever happening, and cause serious bodily harm too.

Given the harm that airbags can cause, it is understandable to question their efficacy and the safety benefits they provide. There is no doubt, however, that studies have shown how airbags have saved many thousands of lives throughout the United States. This is one of the reasons why they are required in at least the front seats of a car. Safety regulators have overwhelmingly agreed that the benefits of airbags outweigh the risks they pose, even though airbags can cause physical harm in a car accident.

What You Can Do After an Airbag Injury

Individuals who have been injured by airbag deployment during a car accident may wish to speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn about how and whether a personal injury claim can be filed for financial compensation. If a crash does not happen and an airbag explodes improperly, causing an airbag deployment injury, consulting with an attorney may be even more advisable, as compensation could be warranted.

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