Can I Get Compensation for an Airbag Injury?

February 8, 2021

Like the seatbelt, airbags are an invention that have saved countless lives. Unfortunately, airbags have also caused a large number of injuries.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), front airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29% in crashes, and front passenger death by 32%. Many newer models of vehicles are also equipped with side airbags, which reduce driver death by 37% in cars, and by 52% in larger vehicles like SUVs.

In other words, risking injury from an airbag is still a much better option than dying in a car crash because there was no airbag. But that doesn’t mean that people who suffer serious injuries from an airbag simply need to accept no one is responsible for their injuries, either.

If someone is injured by their airbag going off after another driver collides with them, they can get compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance for their medical bills. Additionally, if they are injured by an airbag that malfunctioned, they can get compensation from the airbag manufacturer.

Defective Airbag Lawsuits

Airbag injuries caused by defective airbags usually fall into three categories:

  • The airbag did not go off when it should have.
  • The airbag went off when it should not have (e.g. for no reason, or in a very low impact collision that would not have caused injuries on its own).
  • The airbag went off incorrectly (e.g. with too much force, underinflated, or too late to be effective).

The Takata airbag recall is the largest and most famous example of defective airbags. When these defective airbags went off, there was a high risk of them exploding and injuring or killing the vehicle’s occupants with shrapnel.  

If you suspect your airbag did not deploy correctly, causing you to be injured or even resulting in the death of someone you love, it’s important to contact an experienced defective product lawyer like those at Dudley DeBosier to learn if you may be eligible for compensation.

Additionally, you will need to preserve any evidence related to the airbag, which means you should not allow any pieces of the airbag to be thrown out, or allow the insurance company to take possession of the vehicle, which they will attempt to do if the vehicle is declared a total loss after the crash.

What Type of Injuries Do Airbags Cause?

Even when airbags deploy correctly, they can result in serious injury. This is because the extreme speed and force of their inflation can cause abrasions or burns, and the chemicals used to inflate them so rapidly can irritate the lungs and airways.

Common airbag injuries include:

  • Head and brain injuries, including skull fractures and concussions
  • Eye injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart muscle rupture
  • Burns and irritated skin
  • Asthma attacks, throat irritations, or coughing fits
  • Fetal injury (in pregnant women)

Many injuries caused by airbags require medical treatment. If the crash that caused the airbag to go off was caused by someone else, you can file a compensation claim for the medical bills you receive after being treated for your injuries.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Airbag Injury

Airbags are intended for use by an average-sized adult, which is why children and smaller or elderly adults (who tend to sit closer to the steering wheel) are more at risk of injury.

Following these tips can reduce your chances of injury by airbag:

  • Don’t allow children under the age of 13 to sit in the front seat, where they are at risk of being injured by the front passenger airbag. If a child under the age of 13 must sit in the front seat, turn off the front passenger airbag.
  • Never place an infant rear-facing car seat in the front seat, since it places the infant’s head closer to the airbag.
  • Keep your seat positioned at least 10 inches back from the airbag, whether you are sitting in the driver’s seat or the front passenger seat.
  • Keep your hands on either side of the steering wheel, instead of on top of the steering wheel.
  • Passengers in the front seat should not rest their arms or feet on the dashboard above the airbag.
  • Always wear your seatbelt. Keep the belt of the seat belt over your hips rather than across your stomach, and keep the strap across your shoulder rather than under your arm or behind your back.

Injured in a Car Crash Where the Airbag Went Off? Call Our Team

Any time you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, whether that’s another driver slamming into your vehicle or an auto manufacturer who failed to properly safety test their products, the person or party at fault should be held responsible for the harm they caused.

Our experienced Louisiana auto accident lawyers know how to help you get the compensation you need after a crash, especially one serious enough to set off the airbag and cause you injuries. Call today for a free case consultation, and if you hire us, you owe us nothing unless we win.