According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicles can be equipped with frontal and side airbags. Frontal airbags have been standard in all passenger vehicles since model year 1998 and all SUVs, pickup trucks and vans since model year 1999.
The airbag in a vehicle is meant to prevent serious injuries or death in case of an accident. However, contact with an airbag can result in what it is intended to prevent.
If you were injured by an airbag, you may be able to pursue compensation for your damages. Let our knowledgeable Sacramento car crash lawyers help you through the legal process. We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. There are no upfront fees if we validate your case.
Below, we discuss how airbags can cause injuries and what your legal options may be for recovering compensation.
Although airbags have saved thousands of lives every year, there are times when an airbag can end up causing an injury, even if it saved the person’s life.
When an airbag deploys, it is meant to prevent a person’s face and body from coming into contact with the steering wheel of the vehicle. However, the force of the airbag when it deploys is enough to result in facial injuries like a broken nose, dislocated or broken jaw and eye injuries that could cause temporary or permanent blindness. The airbag could also cause a concussion or other brain injury.
Chest injuries like broken or fractured ribs might also occur if the person’s upper body is hit by the airbag due to sitting so close to the steering wheel. Internal injuries may also be possible.
Airbags also release certain chemicals when deployed, which could cause burns to a person’s face or body.
If a side airbag comes into contact with a person’s head, it could result in serious musculoskeletal injuries like whiplash or a herniated disc.
California is an at-fault state. This means accident victims who suffer an airbag injury in a crash may pursue compensation from the driver who caused the collision. You can file a claim as either the driver who was injured by a negligent driver or a passenger in a vehicle whose driver did or did not cause the collision.
For example, if you were the passenger in a vehicle and the driver of said vehicle rear-ended another vehicle, you could pursue compensation for your airbag injuries from the driver of the vehicle you were riding in. If you were a passenger and another vehicle crashed into the vehicle you were riding in, you could still pursue compensation from the driver of the at-fault vehicle.
The process of recovering compensation begins with filing an insurance claim. If the insurance company refuses to pay your damages or does not offer enough compensation, then you may be able to file a lawsuit.
There are some instances when you may be able to sue the airbag manufacturer if there is a defect in the product. For example, Takata airbags were recalled starting back in 2001 due to an incident involving an exploding airbag canister. In 2023, BMW recalled some older models due to issues with vehicle airbags.
The seatbelt in a vehicle is meant to prevent vehicle occupants from crashing into the steering wheel or airbag. Therefore, not wearing one could make you more likely to suffer more serious airbag injuries because there is nothing stopping you from getting hit by the airbag.
Failure to wear a seatbelt is against the law in California in addition to it being dangerous. This could make it more difficult to recover compensation for your injuries. However, you may still be able to recover compensation.
Not every car accident results in airbag deployment. Usually, the airbag sensor must be triggered for the airbag to deploy. If your vehicle is rear-ended, there is a low chance of an airbag deployment because the sensor is in the front part of the vehicle.
However, if your airbags should have deployed but did not, then you may be able to sue the vehicle manufacturer for a defective airbag.
To reduce your risk of a serious airbag injury in case of a collision, it is always a good idea to make sure you wear your seatbelt.
Sitting as far back as possible from the steering wheel or dashboard is also helpful, as you give yourself more space for the airbag to deploy without your face or body coming into harsh contact with it.
If you suffered an injury due to the airbag in a vehicle, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. You can file an insurance claim or a lawsuit if the insurance company is refusing to cooperate with you.
The legal process can be complex, and it may be difficult to go through on your own while you are trying to recover from your injuries. That is why our attorneys are prepared to help you through the process.
We offer a free consultation and charge you nothing up front.
Call 916-777-7777 to schedule your consultation.
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