Airbag Injuries to the Arms

Airbag Accident Victims Who Suffer Injuries to Arms May Be Entitled to Significant Financial Compensation

Airbags can cause various types of injuries. However, one of the most common types of airbag injury is airbag injuries to arms. This is because airbags can cause arm injuries not only when they deploy improperly (or explode), but when they work how they are supposed to as well.

Understanding the Risk of Airbag-Related Arm Injuries

Fractures to hands and arms are particularly common in overly aggressive airbag deployments . While airbag injuries to arms are relatively rare in comparison to the total number of airbag deployments each year in the United States, “hand fractures have been sustained and, in isolated cases, fractures of the forearm bones or of the thumb, wrist, and fingers.” As further explained in the Journal of Trauma:

“The close proximity of the forearm to the airbag module door is related to most of the fractures identified. Steering wheel airbag deployments can fling the hand-forearm into the instrument panel, rearview mirror, or windshield, as indicated by contact scuffs, tissue debris, or the star burst (spider web) pattern of windshield breakage in fron[t] of the steering wheel.”

Another study concluded that the risk of airbag-related arm injuries is particularly high when drivers have their hands at 10:00 and 2:00 on the wheel. In simulated accidents involving crash test dummies, researchers found that, “When the airbag deployed, the left arm rocketed off the wheel, striking the windshield pillar and then striking the left side glass. The paint was removed by the scraping of the airbag from the inner medial aspect of both forearms. . . . [and t]he right arm stayed clamped to the wheel and was bent by the deploying airbag with great force. In a real person, something would have given and broken between the thumb and the forearm.” In contrast, when the simulated driver’s hands were at 9:00 and 3:00, the forces applied to the arms during airbag deployment were far less significant.

Of course, when you’re driving, you don’t necessarily have a chance to adjust your arms immediately before a crash. Additionally, regardless of where you are holding the steering wheel (or if you are a passenger), the forces generated during an airbag deployment or explosion can still be far greater than necessary to cause serious arm injuries. As a result, many accident victims find themselves dealing with airbag-related arm injuries—and in need of an experienced lawyer to help them fight for just compensation.

Types of Airbag Injuries to Arms Caused By Deployments and Explosions

Airbag deployments and explosions can cause arm injuries from the shoulder to the wrist and everywhere in between. Our firm handles cases involving all types of airbag injuries to arms, including:

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures can range widely in terms of their severity. While some fractures can fully heal with immobilization and rest, severe fractures will often require surgery. Due to the forces involved, fractures caused by airbag deployments and explosions tend to be on the more severe side, and many accident victims will find themselves facing long and difficult roads to recovery. This is true for all types of fractures, including fractures of the:

  • Humerus
  • Radius
  • Scapula
  • Ulna
  • Wrist bones (capitate, hamate, lunate, pisiform, scaphoid, trapezium, trapezoid, and triquetrum)

In many cases, bone fractures can lead to permanent complications. These include chronic pain and physical limitations, among others. Bone fractures caused by airbags will frequently be accompanied by tears, avulsions, nerve damage and other potentially serious arm injuries as well.


Burns can result from both friction during airbag deployment and exposure to the chemicals that are used to inflate airbags in the event of a collision. Similar to bone fractures, burns can range widely in terms of their severity, and treatment needs can range from gauze and bandages to multiple skin graft surgeries.

Ligament and Tendon Injuries

Ligaments and tendons connect the bones and muscles in the arms. When an airbag deploys or explodes, the forces involved can overstretch the ligaments and tendons in the arms, and this can lead to serious internal trauma. Common ligament and tendon injuries in the arms caused by airbags include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Tears
  • Avulsions

While sprains and strains will usually heal with rest and rehabilitation, tears and avulsions may require surgery. In all cases, the recovery process can be long, painful and expensive—and accident victims need to make sure they are seeking the full financial compensation they deserve.

Muscle Injuries

Similar to the ligaments and tendons in the arm, the muscles in the arm can suffer damage due to airbag deployments and explosions as well. Common muscle injuries include sprains, strains, tears and avulsions—and they are often accompanied by tendon injuries and fractures at the point where the muscle attaches to the bone.

Nerve Damage

Nerves run the length of the arm from the shoulder down into the hands and fingers. Trauma caused by airbag deployment (or an airbag’s failure to deploy) can damage the nerves, potentially leading to loss of sensation and muscle control in the arms and hands. While some nerve injuries can be treated, these injuries will be permanent in many cases.

Filing a Claim for an Airbag-Related Arm Injury

If you have suffered an airbag injury to the arm, what should you do to protect your legal rights? First and foremost, you should see a doctor promptly. Once you get the initial treatment you need, your next step should be to contact a lawyer for a free consultation. While drivers and passengers injured by defective airbags have clear legal rights, it takes experienced legal representation to successfully fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

Discuss Your Airbag Arm Injury Claim with a Lawyer for Free

Lead airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years. To discuss your airbag arm injury claim with Mr. Willis in confidence, call us or request a free initial consultation online today.