Driving

Can Airbags Cause Injuries When You are in Car Accident?

Airbags reduce driver and front-seat passenger deaths by 29% and 32% respectively, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). There’s no disputing that they are an important safety feature, and while they can reduce deaths and injuries, they can also cause them.

According to flemingattorneys.com, it’s not uncommon for drivers and passengers to get hurt in a car accident because of airbags.

4 Types of Injuries

Head and Neck

Airbags can help prevent common injuries caused by frontal impact. The head and neck are especially vulnerable due to contact with the steering wheel.

But deployment can cause other problems with the head and neck, including facial trauma, spine fractures and in rare cases, decapitation. Studies show that a person can suffer damage to their eyes, especially if the person is wearing glasses. Orbital fractures are common, but occupants may also experience retinal detachment or lens rupture.

In cases where accidents are not head-on (front corner or offset from center impact), airbags may not be as effective at preventing head injuries because the impact propels the body in different directions.

Shoulder and Arm

In serious car accidents, airbags can prevent painful head impacts, but there is also an increased risk of damaging the shoulder and forearm. Clavicle injuries are especially common.

Fractures and dislocations are the most common types of upper limb damage caused by airbag deployment. Contusions, sprains, and abrasions can also occur.

When deployed, it can propel the forearm into the rearview mirror, center console, or even the windshield. The impact itself can hurt the forearm, wrist, or hand.

Torso

Front airbags prevent occupants from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. However, deployment can also cause injury to the abdomen or chest. Drivers and passengers can suffer rib fractures, cardiac rupture and also damage their spine and heart valve.

Research shows that airbags can seriously bruise the chest wall, cause lacerations and burns, and in some cases, these injuries can be significant. Emergency radiographs may not expose these types of problems, so detailed chest imaging may be required.

Defective Products

Airbags can cause injuries even when they deploy and function properly. If Defective they increase the risk of injury or even death.

The Takata airbag recall demonstrates the potential danger of these defective products in vehicles. Many makes and models were recalled because it was discovered that long-term exposure to heat and humidity caused the airbags to explode upon deployment. In these situations, occupants have experienced significant pain and suffering and even death.

About 63 million airbags were recalled in the initial recall. Some vehicles, mainly Honda, Acura, Mazda and Ford vehicles, were at a higher risk of airbag explosion.

In 2019, additional Takata airbags were recalled because of faulty inflators that may explode or fail to inflate properly upon deployment. The cause of the problem is believed to be a faulty inflator seal. Improper sealing can allow moisture into the propellant used to inflate the airbag. This can cause it to inflate more slowly or, on the other hand, more aggressively and even explode. Metal parts become projectiles causing injury or even death to occupants.

Tips for Injury Prevention

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While airbags can cause injuries, the protection they provide often outweighs the risks. There are steps drivers and passengers can take to help prevent the risk of injury in a car accident.

Wear a Seatbelt

Airbags are designed to work in combination with seatbelts. Wearing a seatbelt is crucial not only to prevent airbag-related injuries but also to keep you safe if you are in an accident.

The seatbelt prevents occupant ejection, and the airbag acts as a cushion between the occupant and the dashboard, wheel, windshield, and other surfaces in the vehicle.

Without a seatbelt, the impact of being flung forward towards the steering wheel can seriously hurt you.

Give Yourself Space

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends drivers put at least 10” between the steering wheel and their breastbone. Giving yourself adequate space will help prevent injuries caused by airbag deployment.

The biggest risk of injury is during the first two to three inches of inflation because the force is the strongest in this range. Ten inches will provide enough space between the chest and the airbag.

Talk to a Lawyer About a Product Liability Case

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After sustaining injuries in an accident, you should first seek medical treatment. If it’s possible take pictures of the interior and exterior of your car or have a passenger or friend do so. In any case it’s imperative for you to see a doctor right away, failure to do so will allow the other side, the insurance companies and manufacturers, to claim your injuries were not a result of the accident.

If you feel that your injuries were due to a malfunctioning airbag, one that deployed or DID not deploy, or if subsequent to your injuries the manufacturer issues a recall for the make and model of your car, you may have a product liability case. Even if there is no recall you may have a case. The best thing you can do is contact a lawyer. Product liability lawyers, like many, take cases on contingency and always give a free consultation, so it’s in your best interest to simply search for a lawyer on Google and call their office.

Once a lawyer takes you on as a client, they will typically subpoena records and emails from the manufacturer to begin to build your case. The evidence they are looking for may be related to the design of the product, crash test results, corrective actions made to the design, and most importantly internal communications between employees. In general, if a manufacturer issues a recall, it’s because something isn’t working as designed.

In some product liability cases, it’s been proven that the defendants, the manufacturers, had prior knowledge about a problem with their product and were negligent in addressing the problem or did not communicate the issue to the public in a timely manner. A good product liability lawyer can secure the evidence required to win a settlement for you. In fact, they may have settled cases similar to yours before or taken them to trial. Don’t be afraid to speak out, in the long run, it’s in your best interest.

Accidents Happen: 5 Reasons to be Extra Cautious as a Pedestrian

Driving a car requires a significant amount of focused attention on the road. Surprisingly, traveling as a pedestrian requires equal vigilance and focused attention.

Data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 137,000 pedestrians were treated in the emergency room for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. Considering the lack of protection, it makes sense that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than occupants in the car.

Pedestrian injuries can be serious and costly

Source: wweek.com

Thousands of people experience serious injuries after being hit by a car. Some accept insurance settlements while others hire lawyers. The cost of medical treatment is high. However, injured pedestrians can recover a significant amount of compensation through a lawsuit as long as they don’t make any major mistakes that hinder winning their case.

As a pedestrian, you’re extremely vulnerable. Here’s why you need to be extra cautious about vehicles.

1. Even a minor crash can cause severe injuries or death

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A minor car crash between two motor vehicles isn’t always devastating for anyone but the car. Even then, sometimes cars with heavy-duty bumpers barely see a scratch. When you’re a pedestrian, however, you won’t be so lucky.

Although a speeding car presents more danger, a car’s speed isn’t the only factor you need to watch out for. It’s possible to get hit by a car backing out of a parking space and be seriously injured or die. This is an especially dangerous scenario since some drivers don’t realize when they’ve hit someone. If a driver backs into you in a parking lot and continues to accelerate, you could be run over.

A car traveling 10mph in a parking lot is equally dangerous if they look away momentarily or don’t see you. They might hit you and continue driving before they realize what’s happened.

2. The cost of healing is high

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As an injured pedestrian, the cost of healing is high. You’ll need to take time off work (probably without pay), undergo expensive medical testing and treatments, and the hospital will expect you to pay for anything not covered by your insurance. That’s an overwhelming financial responsibility to shoulder.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit. You’ll be offered a seemingly large amount by an insurance company, but that figure almost never covers your true costs.

A lawsuit, on the other hand, has the potential to get you better compensated and will make the insurance company’s settlement offer look like peanuts. For instance, legal experts from ffp law were able to recover $1,350,000 for a pedestrian accident when the insurance company offered $250,000.

3. Drunk or impaired drivers won’t likely see you

Source: verywellmind.com

According to CDC data, 47% of pedestrian fatalities involved unauthorized substances. In some cases, the driver was intoxicated, but sometimes it was the pedestrian.

A driver impaired by unauthorized substances is less likely to see a pedestrian than if they were not impaired. While impaired people shouldn’t be driving, it does happen and you need to be on alert.

4. Pedestrians are hard to see at night

Source: myerslegal.com

Everyone knows that pedestrians are hard to see at night. They blend in when they’re wearing dark clothing, but sometimes wearing light clothing isn’t enough. Some drivers have a harder time driving at night and place more of their attention on the road ahead of them rather than what’s in front of them. They may not see a pedestrian in a crosswalk that isn’t connected to a traffic light.

5. Cars turn right on red lights quickly

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Think about how you drive. How many times do you look for pedestrians while making a right turn on a red light? Or are you mainly focused on watching the traffic so you can turn when a clearing opens up? Some drivers don’t even stop at a red light before turning right.

It’s easy for drivers to make a right turn on a red light and forget to check for pedestrians one last time. If you’re crossing the street, even at a crosswalk with a green light, pay close attention to cars turning right on a red light.

If a driver is in the far right lane with their blinker on, act as if they’re going to turn. Try to make eye contact with the driver before you start crossing the street. If you start walking at the same moment the driver notices an opening, you could get hit.

Awareness is the key to your safety

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Cars have a duty to look out for pedestrians, but they need to be vigilant, too. Regardless of what cars should be doing, you can avoid injury by being extra cautious whenever you’re a pedestrian.

Be a vigilant driver, too

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Be careful on foot, but also remember to exercise caution when you’re the driver. Not all pedestrians are aware of their surroundings. Some people walk across the street with their eyes glued to their phones.

People on foot are unpredictable; not all people on foot will be looking to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Many people just cross the road regardless of a green or red light and sometimes they don’t even bother to walk in the crosswalk.

Take an extra three seconds to make a full stop at a red light before turning right. Those extra three seconds will give you enough time to look for people about to cross the road right in your turning path.

It’s not always fashionable to stop at a red light, but it’s the law. Despite the law, some people might honk their horn at you for stopping because they’re used to everyone else just blasting through the light. Don’t be that person. People on foot, bicycles, and motorcycles can sneak up beside you to turn right at the same time. By looking out for pedestrians before you turn, you’re also giving yourself the chance to see those bikes and motorcycles.