Common Misconceptions About Airbags and Their Role in Injuries

Airbags are among the most important pieces of safety equipment installed in cars, trucks and SUVs. Along with seatbelts, airbags help save thousands of lives every year, and modern airbags are designed to deploy just about immediately in the event of a crash.

But airbags aren’t completely safe. All airbags present injury risks, and defective airbags have the potential to cause life-altering or life-threatening injuries. As a result, many people find themselves needing to hire an airbag defect lawyer to file a claim for just compensation.

5 Common Misconceptions About Airbags

So, what do you really need to know about the airbags in your car, truck or SUV? Here is the truth behind five common misconceptions about modern vehicle airbags:

1. Your Airbags Will Always Deploy in a Crash Above 16 MPH

Most airbags are designed to deploy in crashes involving speeds above 10 to 12 mph or above 16 mph if a driver or passenger is unbelted. But this doesn’t mean that your airbag will always deploy if you are involved in a crash above these speeds. Sometimes airbags don’t go off even though they are supposed to. Failure to deploy is a very real concern, and airbag non-deployment can tragically have serious or fatal consequences.

2. Your Airbags Will Always Protect You if They Deploy

Even if your airbags deploy, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will protect you. Various issues can lead to airbag-related injuries in the event of deployment. Some examples of these issues include:

  • The airbag fails to fully deploy
  • The airbag explodes rather than deploying properly
  • The speed and force of impact with the airbag causes burns or other injuries

Unfortunately, these issues (among others) can leave drivers and passengers with injuries that may be even worse than the ones they would have suffered had their airbags not deployed. In many cases, these injuries are indicative of airbag defects, and injured drivers and passengers will be able to hire an airbag defect lawyer to help them hold the manufacturer accountable.

3. If Your Car Has Airbags, You Don’t Need to Wear a Seatbelt

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains, “[a]ir bags are supplemental protection and are designed to work best in combination with seat belts.” In other words, even though your vehicle may be equipped with multiple airbags, wearing a seatbelt is still extremely important. Your seatbelt keeps you in place so that your vehicle’s airbags can protect you. If you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you could slide forward under the dash (and under your airbags) or even be ejected from the vehicle.

4. It Is Always Best for Your Airbags to Deploy in the Event of a Crash

Despite the safety benefits that airbags provide, it isn’t always best for your airbags to deploy in the event of a crash. For example, if you need to sit too close to the steering wheel, having your frontal airbag deploy could be extremely dangerous. Airbag deployment can be dangerous for children and smaller adults in the front passenger seat as well—and this is why many vehicles are equipped with on/off switches that work automatically based on a passenger’s weight.

5. You Should Disable Your Airbags to Avoid Defect-Related Injuries

Takata has recalled defective airbags installed in tens of millions of vehicles sold by most major automotive manufacturers. The recall process is ongoing, and millions of vehicles on U.S. roads currently have defective Takata airbags. Even so, unless a vehicle manufacturer recommends otherwise, vehicle owners generally should not disable their airbags. Ultimately, the risks of being involved in a serious crash without airbags can be greater than the risks involved with a defective Takata airbag’s deployment.

How (and Why) Airbags Are a Common Cause of Crash-Related Injuries

Now that we’ve covered some of the most common misconceptions about airbags, we can start to see why airbag injuries are so common. Airbags inherently present certain risks, and both defective and non-defective airbags can cause harm to drivers and passengers. Here are some more important facts for accident victims and their families: 

  • Non-Defective Airbags Can Cause Serious Injuries – Even if an airbag isn’t defective, it can still cause serious injuries. Face, eye, arm and chest injuries are all common, and airbag deployment can cause spinal cord injuries (SCI) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as well.
  • Defective Takata and ARC Airbags Can Cause Serious Injuries – While non-defective airbags can be dangerous in some cases, defective airbags are even more dangerous. Along with Takata, ARC is another airbag manufacturer that has recently come under scrutiny for selling defective airbags.
  • Airbag-Related Injuries Can Have Numerous Causes – Airbag-related injuries can result from non-deployment, delayed deployment, under-deployment, unexpected deployment, airbag explosions and a wide range of other issues.
  • Some Drivers and Passengers Are at Greater Risk Than Others – Children and smaller adults may be at greater risk for airbag injuries than larger adults due to their weight and their position in the driver’s seat or passenger’s seat. However, both defective and non-defective airbags can present risks for all vehicle occupants.
  • Millions of Vehicles on U.S. Roads Have Defective Airbags – Millions of vehicles on U.S. roads are currently equipped with defective Takata and ARC airbags. While automotive manufacturers are working to replace these defective airbags, the process is taking years. Models produced by most major manufacturers are affected, and, unfortunately, many people have no choice but to wait until they have the opportunity to have their defective airbags replaced.

Did You Suffer an Airbag Injury? Speak with an Airbag Defect Lawyer for Free

Are you coping with the life-altering effects of a serious airbag-related injury? If so, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. We represent airbag injury victims nationwide, and you can speak with an experienced airbag defect lawyer at our firm about your legal rights for free. To schedule your free consultation as soon as possible, give us a call or tell us how we can help online today.