We all know that we have airbags in a car that can help protect us and save our lives in the case of an accident. Fortunately, most of us will never have to see them deployed outside of a car safety commercial. But for those of us who do experience an airbag going off during a crash, is there any effect on the personal injury case that could result?
The History of the Airbag
The invention of the airbag dates back to the early 1950s when engineer John Hetrick had a car accident. His daughter had been riding alongside him in the car and he started to worry about how badly she could have been hurt. What if she had hit her head against the window or another equally hard surface inside the vehicle? Using his background in engineering, he began to experiment with a way to create a cushion that would be opened in the event of an accident that could help protect the people inside a car.
How Do Airbags Work?
Simply, airbags are essential safety features designed to inflate rapidly. Their pillow-like structures create a cushioning effect during collisions. They work in tandem with seatbelts to offer you valuable protection inside your vehicle.
When the vehicle experiences a collision, it has special sensors that detect the impact. These sensors send an electronically communicated signal to the airbag system. The airbags then respond in a split second, instantaneously igniting a burst of chemical gas when it gets the signal.
The purpose of an airbag is to absorb impact between you and the hard surfaces inside the car, such as the steering wheel, window, or dashboard. This rapid ballooning creates a soft and supple barrier. This cushion helps reduce the force with which your body makes contact with those hard surfaces. It absorbs some of the impact energy and, ultimately, lowers the risk of serious injury.
What Are the Kinds of Crashes That Cause An Airbag to Deploy?
You may be surprised to learn that not all car crashes will result in airbag deployment – and that this is by design. This is because the main factor for their activation is a front-end collision. This type of crash is what most often causes the head of a passenger to be whipped forward into the hard structures of a car’s interior. In general, airbag sensors are designed to react to the front of the vehicle body impacting a hard surface at 8-14 mph.
Sophisticated systems of a number of sensors as well as intricate algorithms analyze the forces at play in the midst of a crash. They take in the severity, direction, and location of an impact before making the decision to deploy airbags. This ensures that they are inflated only when necessary. Every vehicle has its own unique design for airbag systems and parameters for what causes them to be inflated.
Some new vehicles have more than just front airbags. The other types of airbags are often called “side curtain airbags” and they go off in side-impact collisions or rollovers. While they are not required in a vehicle, many automakers use them as a law FMVSS 226 went into place that requires 2018 and later-model cars to be designed to stop a passenger from being ejected out of a side window.
While specific factors for an airbag going off may differ among vehicles, here are common crash scenarios that can trigger airbag deployment:
During head-on collisions, airbags deploy to protect occupants from the force of impact. As mentioned, they go off when sensors detect a significant forward force, such as striking another vehicle or a solid object.
Side Impact Collisions
Some cars are equipped with side-impact airbags. These are designed to safeguard passengers when a crash involves lateral impact. These airbags activate in cases like being t-boned by another vehicle or hitting a guardrail.
In certain rollover accidents where vehicles overturn or roll onto their sides or roofs, specialized rollover sensors may trigger the deployment of relevant airbags.
Can Airbags Save Your Life?
The lifesaving power of airbags can’t be overestimated. Frontal collisions have 29% less driver fatalities due to front airbags, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For front-seat passengers, this percentage increases to 32%. The reduced risk of death when it comes to side airbags is 37% for the driver, or 52% if the vehicle being driven is an SUV.
The Importance of Buckling Up When Airbags Deploy in a Car
It’s important to remember that airbags work alongside seatbelts. Seatbelts are called “primary restraint devices” – while airbags are defined as secondary. Seatbelts keep you safely restrained in your seat and airbags provide an extra layer of protection during a crash. When both are used together, your safety is ensured.
These two life-saving devices are actually linked together by the vehicle’s sensors. This specialized electrical connection is called the SRS airbag module. The speed of impact at which airbags are deployed differs whether the vehicle detects the seatbelt is plugged in or not. This is important to remember for how it could save your life.
Could Airbag Deployment Cause Injuries?
While in general airbags will serve to protect you, sometimes they can cause injury. These injuries may be more superficial than the injury would have been without an airbag, but they can still occur. Occasionally, airbags malfunction and this can cause much more significant damage. Severe trauma from airbags includes the following:
These can include bruising, fractures to small facial bones, and other trauma resulting from the impact of the airbag.
The force of the airbag on the chest may lead to chest injuries, including potential damage to the heart.
Airbags inflate by way of a chemical reaction. If these chemicals rub against the skin during deployment, burns can occur on the chest, hands, arms, or face.
The deployment of airbags can cause fractures in parts of the body such as the skull, ribs, and wrist bones.
Traumatic brain injuries
If the head experiences severe impact with an airbag, it can cause concussions or other traumatic brain injuries.
Chemical irritation from airbag deployment or direct pressure from the airbag can potentially cause eye injuries.
The force generated by an airbag’s deployment could result in ear trauma, leading to hearing loss or other related auditory issues.
If organs are damaged due to problematic airbag deployment, internal bleeding becomes a concern.
Some individuals may experience asthma attacks or respiratory problems triggered by exposure to chemicals released during airbag deployment.
Injury to a fetus (in pregnant women)
Airbags are often a concern for the risks they can pose for pregnant women as they may potentially harm the fetus.
Understanding Potential Compensation in a Florida Accident Case Where Airbags Deploy
If you have been involved in an accident in St. Petersburg where the airbags have deployed, it is important to understand the potential compensation you may be entitled to. These types of accidents can result in various losses, including physical injuries, emotional distress, and property damage.
When it comes to seeking compensation, there are many factors that come into play. Firstly, you need to determine who was at fault for the accident. In Florida, the state follows a “comparative negligence” rule which means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be eligible for compensation.
Secondly, you will need to consider what types of damages you can claim. This includes medical expenses related to your injuries such as doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, and rehabilitation costs. You may also be able to seek compensation for any lost wages due to time off work during your recovery period.
In addition to these economic damages, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering caused by the accident. These intangible losses can greatly impact your quality of life and should not be overlooked when seeking compensation.
To increase your chances of receiving compensation, it is recommended to consult with an experienced St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney.
How Can A St. Petersburg Airbag Accident Attorney Help?
A St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney can play a crucial role in helping you understand and navigate the complexities of your case.
Firstly, an attorney will evaluate your situation and determine if you have a valid claim for compensation. They will consider factors such as the extent of your injuries, the circumstances surrounding the accident, and any potential negligence by the other parties. This assessment is important to ensure that pursuing legal action is in your best interest.
After validating your claim, an experienced St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney will guide you through the legal process from start to finish. They will handle all communication with insurance companies, gather evidence to support your case and negotiate on your behalf.
Additionally, an attorney will help accurately calculate damages. In airbag accident cases, damages can go beyond medical expenses and lost wages. They may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disabilities or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and future medical costs. A skilled St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney understands how to properly assess these damages based on their experience in similar cases.
Furthermore, a St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney’s expertise allows them to identify potential additional liable parties involved in the accident. This could include automobile manufacturers or other entities responsible for faulty airbags or negligent maintenance procedures.
Lastly, sometimes negotiations with insurance companies fail to reach a settlement that is fair. A St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney is prepared to take your case to court if necessary. They will advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact A St. Petersburg Airbag Accident Attorney For A Free Consultation
Time is of the essence in personal injury cases. Consult with a St. Petersburg airbag attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation. Having a St. Petersburg airbag accident attorney by your side can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you have a legal professional handling all aspects of your case. They will work tirelessly on your behalf, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back on track. They will advise you on the best course of action so you can receive your fair compensation