How Serious Does a Collision Have to Be for Airbags to Deploy?

Airbags are one of the many safety features motor vehicles have to protect occupants during a collision. In a car crash, the airbags deploy to protect passengers from slamming into the dashboard, steering wheel, doors, and windows. Airbags saved over 50,000 lives from 1987 through 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

When Do Airbags Deploy During a Traffic Accident?

A vehicle’s airbag does not deploy in all car accidents. They are designed to deploy in “moderate to severe” car accidents involving frontal or near-frontal collisions. However, airbags could deploy in minor car accidents under certain circumstances. 

Minor car accidents are equivalent to hitting a parked car or similar-sized object at 16 to 28 mph or higher. Likewise, it is equivalent to hitting a fixed, solid barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher. 

What Could Cause an Airbag to Fail to Deploy?

Crash sensors trigger the activation of the airbag. The sensors send a signal to the airbag that causes deployment in specific circumstances. 

Once the signal is sent to the airbag’s igniter, it begins a chemical reaction that inflates the airbag in less than 1/20th of a second. Side airbags inflate even faster. 

An airbag might not deploy if the collision is mild to moderate. In addition, airbags do not employ if the driver turns off the side frontal airbags. Some newer vehicles have sensors that turn off side frontal airbags if the sensors detect a child or small-statured adult in the front passenger seat.

Defects could cause the airbag not to inflate. Likewise, manufacturing defects in the vehicle could result in the airbags malfunctioning during a crash. The driver and passengers could sustain severe injuries if an airbag fails to deploy.

What Are Some Common Airbag Injuries?

Airbags can reduce the risk of injuries and death in a car accident when used correctly. However, even when airbags operate correctly, they can cause injuries. 

Common airbag injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Eye injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Lacerations and abrasions
  • Back injuries
  • Burns 
  • Hearing loss and ear trauma
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries

You can reduce the risk of airbag injuries by wearing your seatbelt and keeping at least 10 inches between your body and the airbag. Children should sit in the back seat because an airbag can cause severe injury to a child sitting in the front seat.

Airbags cannot deploy more than once. If an airbag deploys during an accident, it should be replaced by a certified technician.

Who Is Responsible for Damages and Injuries Caused by Airbags?

If the airbag injuries were caused as part of the car wreck, the person who caused the accident could be liable for damages. For example, the airbag inflates correctly, but it causes you to sustain facial injuries. You would include the damages from the facial injuries in your car accident claim.

However, if the airbag fails to deploy or deploys incorrectly, the airbag or vehicle manufacturer could be liable for damages. Defective airbags have been associated with severe injuries and deaths. 

It can be difficult to determine why an injury occurred during a collision. Your physicians can help diagnose the cause of your injuries. A York car accident lawyer can identify the party or parties liable for your damages. 

What Damages Could I Recover for Airbag Injuries After a Car Crash?

The damages you can receive for airbag injuries depend on the severity of your injuries and other factors. 

However, if another party is responsible for causing your injuries, you should be entitled to economic damages for:

If you sustained permanent impairments or disabilities, you could also receive compensation for future damages. These damages may include future lost wages, long-term nursing care, and diminished earning capacity.

In addition, you could receive compensation for your non-economic damages

These damages represent your:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Decrease in quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Your legal team will work with you to document your damages and value your claim correctly. The goal is to recover fair compensation for all damages. 

Before recovering any money for the claim, you must prove that the other party was responsible for causing the car accident. The evidence must establish causation and fault. A York car accident attorney will investigate the car crash to gather the evidence necessary to build a strong case. 

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 955-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963