The Effects of Airbag Deployment in Your Car Accident Claim
Bill Allen | July 19, 2022 | Car Accidents
Many factors affect your car accident claim. The severity of your injuries, insurance coverage availability, and liability assignment all impact how much money you can receive for a car accident case. However, many people never consider how airbag deployment could impact the outcome of a car accident claim.
Airbags Are Effective in Saving Lives and Preventing Injuries in Car Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), frontal airbags have saved over 40,400 lives from 1987 through 2017. Airbags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe car crashes. Therefore, your airbags might not deploy in a minor collision.
Airbags reduce the chance that your head or upper body hits the dashboard, window, or steering wheel in a crash. They work best when combined with wearing a seatbelt. Federal regulations require frontal airbags as standard equipment for all passenger cars beginning with the model year 1998 (SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks with the model year 1999).
When a car collides with another vehicle or object, a signal sent to the airbag’s electronic control unit inflates the airbag in less than 1/20th of a second. Because airbags deploy with such violent force, a person could be injured if they are too close to the airbag or come into contact with the airbag when it first deploys.
Individuals Can Sustain Serious Injuries Caused by Vehicle Airbags During a Crash
Airbags cause injuries for a variety of reasons. Faulty or defective airbags increase the risk of severe injuries during a collision. Causes of airbag injuries include, but are not limited to:
- The sensor fails to release the airbag when the car collides with another vehicle or object
- The severity of the crash was not sufficient to trigger the airbag deployment
- The airbag deploys too soon or without cause
- The sensor fails to deploy the airbag during a moderate to severe car accident
- A defective airbag deploys too fast or causes metal and other debris to become projectiles at the occupants
- A driver or passenger is sitting too close to the airbag when it deploys
- The vehicle occupants are not wearing their seatbelts
Airbags can cause mild to severe injuries. Some airbag injuries can be life-threatening. These injuries may not have occurred had it not been for the airbag deploying during the accident.
Common airbag injuries include:
- Head and face trauma
- Cardiac injuries
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Lung injuries
- Spinal fractures
- Eye injuries
- Musculoskeletal damage
- Contusions, abrasions, and lacerations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Injury to the eye socket
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
Airbag injuries can significantly affect the value of damages for a car accident claim. If an airbag did not deploy correctly, you could have a claim against the airbag’s manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer under product liability laws. Otherwise, airbag injuries can be included in the personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Insurance Companies Might Deny Damages Related to Airbag Injuries
An insurance company for the at-fault driver might deny the portion of your claim related to airbag injuries. It might try to shift the blame to the vehicle or airbag manufacturer. Therefore, working with an experienced car accident lawyer who understands airbag injury claims is crucial.
Your lawyer investigates the cause of your airbag injuries to determine if the injuries were caused because the airbag was defective. If not, the airbag injuries are part of the overall car accident claim. Even so, you still need to prove that the other caused the accident and the accident resulted in your injuries and damages to recover compensation for damages.
Damages for a Car Accident Involving Airbag Deployment
An insurance company might offer a higher settlement amount if your airbag is deployed during the car wreck. Because airbags deploy in moderate to severe crashes, the airbag deploying helps support a claim for higher damages.
Airbag deployment can also support claims of soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, torn ligaments, and muscle injuries. These injuries can be difficult to prove when they do not appear on x-rays, MRIs, and other imaging tests.
Damages from a car accident can include economic damages. These financial losses include medical bills and loss of income. Monetary damages include out-of-pocket expenses, diminished earning capacity, personal care, and nursing care.
In addition to financial damages, you can recover compensation for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages include physical suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. They also include a decrease in quality of life and permanent impairments.
Failure to Wear a Seatbelt Could Decrease Compensation for a Car Accident
The insurance company might claim contributory fault for failing to wear a seatbelt or failing to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding using an airbag. The company might claim that your actions contributed to the cause of your airbag injuries and other injuries.
Under Florida’s contributory fault laws, the compensation for your damages could be reduced by your percentage of fault for causing your injuries. A car accident attorney can help you fight these claims to get the money you deserve for a personal injury claim.
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