Airbags save many lives. By some estimates, they reduce the risk of death in a car accident by 29% for drivers and 32% for passengers.
Despite the benefits airbags offer, they also have some drawbacks. Children and smaller adults can be killed as the airbag inflates, and normal-sized adults can suffer airbag injuries to their heads, hands, and chests in an accident.
Learn more about airbag injuries and how to seek compensation for airbag injuries. Contact our Tampa law office or call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free initial consultation at (813) 223-6200 if you need help or have questions.
How Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Sustained Airbag Injuries
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers is known in Florida as “The Aggressive Attorneys.” Our lawyers have nearly 120 years of combined experience fighting for accident victims across the state.
Since the firm’s founding in 2001, our Tampa car accident attorneys have achieved many notable case outcomes and have won millions for our deserving clients.
If you hire us for help after suffering airbag injuries in a collision, we’ll:
- Investigate the car accident and gather evidence proving causation and liability
- Help you calculate the full value of your personal injury claim
- Enlist the help of leading experts if necessary
- Determine if the airbag was defective or improperly installed
- Negotiate on your behalf and represent you at trial if we fail to secure a favorable out-of-court settlement
In a car accident, injuries can occur from the collision or its aftermath. To discuss your airbag injuries and how to get compensation for them, contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
How Common Are Airbag Injuries?
The United States federal government has required auto manufacturers to install driver airbags since 1998. Driver airbags have been standard equipment in all new vehicles since the 1999 model year for cars and the 2000 model year for pickup trucks.
Before 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) counted more than 290 airbag deaths and thousands of airbag injuries. But a change in the airbag regulations that year pushed manufacturers to alter airbag design to reduce inflation force and install sensors to deactivate airbags for children and small adults.
Cars and trucks with the model year 2008 or later with properly functioning airbags have a much lower risk of airbag fatalities and injuries. Since 2008, most cases of airbag injuries and deaths involve defective airbags.
Overview of Airbag Injuries in Tampa, FL
Even though airbag injuries are less common in newer cars, they still happen for many reasons, including:
- Many cars manufactured before 2008 remain on roads
- Injuries still happen in newer cars, particularly with shorter or heavier adults
- Approximately 67 million defective airbags reached consumers in the U.S.
Airbags comprise three main components. The sensors sit in the front of the vehicle. They detect front-end collisions and send a signal to the inflator, which quickly generates a large amount of gas. This gas is then directed into the airbag, inflating it in less than a second.
Airbags also include vents that cause them to deflate slowly when struck. This feature allows them to catch drivers and passengers safely rather than simply bouncing them away.
Airbag Injury Types
Airbags can injure several different body parts, including:
You may instinctively push against the steering wheel during an accident to avoid hitting it. As the airbag inflates, it can knock your arms outward. If you hitched your thumbs around the steering wheel as you gripped it, the outward force could hyperextend or tear tendons and ligaments in your thumbs, hands, and wrists.
For the airbag to do its job, it must impact your face and chest. The airbag does much less damage than the steering wheel or dashboard would, but it can still injure you.
It’s possible to break your nose or small bones when your face strikes the airbag, leading to visible disfigurement from bruising, swelling, and changes to the structures of your facial features.
Airbags work best in combination with seat belts. Ideally, the seat belt will slow you down enough that the airbag can do its job without causing severe injuries. In this scenario, you might only end up with minor bruising on your torso.
However, the airbag will hit you with much greater force if you aren’t wearing a seat belt during your accident. Such an impact could break ribs, strain chest muscles, and even tear the cartilage connecting the ribs to the sternum.
Liability for Airbag Injuries in Florida
In a Tampa car accident case, the at-fault driver may bear liability for injuries caused by their negligence. Airbag injuries flow naturally from a collision. As a result, you can almost always prove that the at-fault driver’s actions caused your airbag injuries.
Another potential source of compensation for airbag injuries comes from the airbag manufacturer. If your airbag is found to be defective, you could pursue a product liability claim.
For example, a company called Takata produced defective airbag inflators that were installed in approximately 65 million American vehicles over a 13-year period. These faulty airbags caused 19 deaths and more than 400 injuries when they inflated so violently that they sent shrapnel into the vehicles’ interiors.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers To Discuss Your Airbag Injuries and Other Damages
Though they’re meant to save lives, airbags can cause severe injuries to the face, thumbs, and vital organs, potentially disabling or even killing car accident victims.
Schedule a free consultation with Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your options for recovering compensation for your airbag injuries.
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