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Can airbags cause injuries in car wrecks?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Car Accidents

Airbags are one of the most significant innovations in automotive safety. They’re designed to reduce the risk of serious injuries and even save lives in a wreck – and they really are quite effective. 

Front airbags reduce driver deaths by 29% and fatalities among front-seat passengers over 13 years of age by 32%. When side crashes happen, airbags reduce driver deaths by 37% when a car is involved and by 52% when the wreck involves an SUV.

However, airbags aren’t perfect. In some situations, they can actually be the cause of injuries in a wreck.

What are common airbag-related injuries?

Airbags are designed to deploy rapidly upon detecting a collision that meets its threshold (roughly 10 mph or higher). In the process, drivers and passengers can suffer from:

  • Impact-related injuries: One of the most common ways airbags can cause injuries is through the sheer force of their deployment, which can exert considerable force. The sudden impact can lead to facial abrasions, bruises and even fractures. In extreme cases, it can cause severe head, neck and dental injuries, particularly if the occupant is sitting too close to the steering wheel or dash.
  • Heat and chemical burns: Airbags contain a chemical propellant that generates the gas needed for their inflation. During deployment, this chemical can produce intense heat and gas, which may cause burns and abrasions to the occupants. The chemical burns can also lead to serious eye injuries and more.
  • Inhalation of chemicals: Sometimes, the chemical used to inflate airbags can contain gasses that may be harmful when inhaled. Inhaling these substances can lead to respiratory issues for drivers and passengers alike.

If you or your loved ones were involved in a car accident, you may be happy that you all managed to “walk way” from the wreckage – but don’t underestimate the seriousness of airbag injuries. Legal guidance can help you explore all your legal options.


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