Frontal airbags saved 50,000 lives between 1987 and 2017. The U.S. government has required airbags in new vehicles sold since 1998, meaning you probably have frontal airbags unless you drive a classic car.
Airbags operate by rapidly inflating when a sensor detects a frontal impact. As your body pushes on the airbag, it pushes back. Sometimes, this force can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If you were injured by your airbag in a car accident in Nashville, TN, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver or another liable party.
A Nashville airbag injury lawyer from Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers can help you assess your legal claims under Tennessee law. Contact our law office today for a free case evaluation.
How Our Nashville Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You With an Airbag Injury Claim
Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers is a Nashville, Tennessee law firm focused exclusively on personal injury law. Our Nashville car accident lawyers provide attentive service to fight for fair compensation for our clients.
If you suffer trauma due to someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, our legal team will provide the following:
- A free review of your case to identify your claims and explain your options
- A thorough investigation of your accident
- Aggressive negotiations with claim adjusters to settle your case
- Courtroom experience to battle at-fault parties and insurers who refuse to settle
Airbag injuries can range from bruises to fatal head and neck injuries. Contact our Nashville personal injury lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the airbag injuries you or your loved one suffered and the compensation you can seek for them.
How Many Airbag Injuries Have Happened?
Airbags have three main parts. A sensor sits at the front of the vehicle and detects frontal collisions. This sensor does not trigger the airbag in response to T-bone or rear-end crashes. It only sets off the inflator during a head-on car accident.
An inflator initiates a chemical reaction that rapidly produces a large volume of gas when triggered by the sensor. This reaction occurs in less than 1/20th of a second.
The inflator directs the gas to the airbag. The bag includes vents so it can catch you and then deflate.
The NHTSA has received reports of at least 290 deaths caused by airbags. While the agency has not released injury numbers, it may have received hundreds or even thousands of additional reports of non-fatal injuries.
But these numbers come with two caveats. First, 90% of deaths happened in vehicles produced before airbag regulations came into force in 1998. In the early years, manufacturers had no standards to follow when designing inflators. When airbags became standard equipment in 1998, many manufacturers de-powered inflators to comply with new regulations.
Second, 80% of deaths involved children. The NHTSA and manufacturers recommend disabling airbags when children ride in the front seat because the inflation force can injure them.
When adults ride in post-1998 vehicles, properly functioning airbags rarely cause a fatal injury. However, non-fatal injuries can still happen.
What Can Cause Airbag Injuries?
Airbags inflate with explosive force. Unfortunately, you should expect some injuries. The inflator can throw debris into your face or even hyperextend your fingers or wrists as the airbag pushes your hands away from the steering wheel. Similarly, you may injure your face or chest when you strike the airbag.
Some injuries you might expect from these impact forces include:
- Eye, nose, or throat irritation from the powder coating the airbag
- Sprained fingers or wrists
- Facial bruises or fractures
- Chest bruises
- Rib fractures
These injuries might cause symptoms like pain and stiffness. But they will typically heal in six to eight weeks. Nevertheless, you can still pursue compensation for their impact on your finances and quality of life.
Some airbag injuries are more serious and may produce permanent disabilities or even death. These injuries tend to happen in three main ways.
Lack of Seat Belt
Manufacturers designed airbags to work in conjunction with seat belts. The airbag might not function as intended if you do not wear a seat belt. In some cases, you might hit the airbag with too much force, causing it to rupture. In other cases, you might bounce to the side and hit your window, door, door post, or other structure.
In these situations, the airbag was not necessarily to blame for the injury. Instead, the injury occurred due to misusing it by riding without a seat belt.
Airbags can cause serious or even fatal head and neck injuries to children and adults who are short. The inflator exerts the most force immediately upon inflation. Ideally, a vehicle occupant will not hit an airbag until after it inflates. If the airbag is still inflating when the occupant strikes it, the impact can snap their head back, causing a neck or brain injury.
Takata supplied airbag modules to every major vehicle manufacturer. For several years in the early 2000s, the company supplied dangerously unstable inflators that would inflate unexpectedly or explode with such force that they sprayed the vehicle occupants with shrapnel. According to regulators, Takata airbags caused 26 deaths and 400 injuries.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Experienced Nashville Airbag Injury Attorneys
You can seek compensation for airbag injuries caused by the manufacturer or at-fault driver. Contact our law office at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, or call (615) 685-8546 to discuss your airbag injuries and the compensation you can seek.