Understanding the Causes of Airbag Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide

Airbag injuries are a very real concern. While airbags are supposed to help keep us safe in the event of an accident—and in many cases they do—they can also cause serious and fatal injuries in some cases. For individuals and families affected by airbag injuries, hiring an airbag lawsuit lawyer can be critical for moving forward without undue financial burdens or emotional strain.

10 Common Causes of Airbag Injuries

Several factors can lead to airbag injuries. When you or a loved one suffers an airbag injury, determining the cause of the injury is a key step toward asserting your legal rights. When you hire an airbag lawsuit lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation focused on determining whether the airbag deployed properly and identifying any other issues that may have played a role in causing your (or your loved one’s) injury.

Here are 10 of the most common causes of airbag injuries:

1. Failure to Deploy

Modern vehicles have sensors that are designed to detect crashes and send a signal to the vehicle’s airbags telling them to deploy. If these sensors are faulty, the vehicle’s airbags can fail to deploy in the event of a crash. Airbag non-deployment can be extremely dangerous, and it can put drivers and passengers at risk for life-altering or even life-threatening injuries.

2. Delayed Deployment

A vehicle’s airbags should deploy almost immediately in the event of a crash. The vehicle’s crash sensors should trigger its airbags to deploy virtually instantaneously, and once they have been triggered, the vehicle’s airbags should deploy in less than 1/20th of a second (about the same as the blink of an eye). Any delays in triggering an airbag’s deployment or in the airbag’s deployment itself can put drivers and passengers at risk for injuries that could—and should—have been prevented.

3. Airbag Under-Deployment

When an airbag deploys, it must fully inflate in order to provide maximum protection. Airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers by creating a cushion that prevents serious impacts to the head, arms, shoulders and chest. If an airbag under-deploys during a collision, the forces involved in the collision can be enough to overcome the underinflated airbag and cause major injuries.

4. Airbag On/Off Switch Failure

Many vehicles have airbag on/off switches that are designed to disable the vehicle’s airbags if a passenger is below a certain weight. This is because airbag deployment can be dangerous for children and smaller adults in some cases. If a vehicle’s on/off switch either: (i) fails to disable airbags when it is supposed to; or (ii) fails to re-arm airbags after disabling them for a different passenger, this can also lead to serious injuries that the vehicle’s airbag system should have prevented.

5. Electrical Malfunctions

Along with on/off switch failures, other electrical malfunctions can also lead to airbag-related injuries. Airbag systems rely on electrical signals to trigger deployment. If a vehicle’s crash sensors are unable to send this signal, then its airbags won’t deploy when they are needed.  

6. Airbag Inflator Malfunctions

Airbag injuries can also result from airbag inflator malfunctions. This is the primary issue with the defective Takata airbags installed in tens of millions of vehicles sold in the United States. Defective airbag inflators can either fail to inflate the airbag when triggered; or, just as dangerously, they can explode when the airbag is deployed.

7. Airbag Explosions

Airbag explosions present serious risks for drivers and all other vehicle occupants. When airbags explode, they can release extreme heat, release dangerous chemicals, and send shrapnel and metal fragments flying throughout the cabin.

8. Airbag Shrapnel and Metal Fragments

Shrapnel and metal fragments created by airbag explosions often cause disabling and disfiguring injuries. Shards of glass, plastic and metal can cause eye injuries, facial scars and other injuries that negatively impact the rest of accident victims’ lives.  

9. Extreme Heat, Friction and Chemical Exposure

Whether an airbag explodes or deploys properly, it can create extreme heat resulting in serious burns. The friction of the airbag rubbing against the face and other body parts can cause skin burns as well. When an airbag explodes, the explosion can expel dangerous chemicals toward drivers and passengers, and this can also cause disfiguring burns in some cases.

10. Head Trauma During Airbag Deployment

Even if an airbag deploys as it is supposed to, the force of impact from the airbag can be enough to cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). With airbag explosions, the risk of TBI is even greater. Concussions and other forms of TBI can have life-altering effects, and, like other airbag injuries, they can justify claims for just compensation in many cases.

Defective vs. Non-Defective Airbags: Understanding Your Legal Rights

Generally, filing an airbag injury lawsuit against a manufacturer requires evidence that the airbag was defective. Airbag defects can take many forms, and when you hire an airbag lawsuit lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will conduct an investigation to determine exactly what went wrong. All of the causes of airbag injuries listed above can potentially justify claims against automotive manufacturers.

Of course, even if your (or your loved one’s) airbag wasn’t defective, you may still have a claim for financial compensation. For example, you may have a claim against the other driver (or the driver’s employer or rideshare company), or you could have a claim based on a different type of vehicle defect. An experienced airbag lawsuit lawyer will be able to evaluate all of your options and help you make informed decisions about asserting your legal rights.

Request a Free Consultation with an Airbag Lawsuit Lawyer Today

Do you need to know more about filing an airbag injury lawsuit? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. We represent victims and families nationwide. To speak with an experienced airbag lawsuit lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, give us a call or send us your contact information online today.