What Are Common Symptoms After Airbag Deployment in Georgia?

Airbags deploy after car accident female motorist feeling neck pain after.

Airbags are an essential safety feature of most modern passenger vehicles. They rapidly inflate when sensors detect a crash, shielding occupants from impact with hard surfaces. When they work as they should, they lessen the severity of injuries and save lives.

Unfortunately, airbags do not prevent all injuries. In some cases, they may even cause injuries, including:

  • Facial injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Friction burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Lacerations and abrasions
  • Strains and sprains

If you suffer airbag deployment injuries after a faulty airbag deployment or a collision that was not your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. At the Butler Kahn, our knowledgeable Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you hold negligent parties accountable and demand the recovery you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options during a free initial consultation.

How Do Airbags Work?

At its simplest, an airbag is an inflatable cushion, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Manufacturers build these cushions into strategic compartments inside vehicles, with sensors designed to detect crashes. When these sensors determine a collision is occurring, they transmit signals that prompt the appropriate airbags to inflate.

The inflation of an airbag takes a fraction of a second. Today’s more advanced airbags can calculate precisely when to deploy for maximum effectiveness based on whether vehicle occupants are wearing safety belts. For instance, front airbags deploy for unbelted occupants at lower speeds than they do for belted occupants.

Front airbags have been mandatory on all new vehicles since 1999. Side airbags, which protect the head and chest, are also common but are not legally mandated. Other recent airbag innovations include:

  • Rear-window curtain airbags to protect backseat occupants
  • Far-side airbags to prevent drivers and front passengers from colliding with one another
  • Inflatable safety belts to avoid or reduce back seat chest injuries
  • Knee airbags, which distribute the force of impact and reduce leg injuries

Research published by the IIHS supports the importance of airbags and found that:

  • Front airbags decrease the risk of driver fatality by 29 percent in frontal crashes
  • Front airbags decrease the risk of front-seat passenger fatality by 32 percent for passengers aged 13 and older
  • Side airbags that protect the head reduce the risk of driver fatality in driver-side collisions by 37 percent in cars and by 52 percent in SUVs
  • Airbag use reduces the risk of fatality in frontal crashes by 34 percent, and using airbags with safety belts reduces the risk by 61 percent

Symptoms of Airbag Deployment Injuries

If an airbag deployed after you were involved in a car wreck, you may not immediately notice injuries. Here are some common symptoms related to deployment injuries:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Radiating pain in your shoulders and arms
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Dizziness

See a doctor after a car accident and mention any symptoms that may indicate you were injured.

Why Might an Airbag NOT Deploy in an Accident?

Airbags are not supposed to deploy in every single crash scenario. After all, an airbag is designed to explosively deploy mere inches from your face at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour, forceful enough to cause serious injuries. Multiple sensors evaluate several key characteristics, including crash speed and impact vectors, to determine whether deployment of an airbag is appropriate.

Scenarios in which an airbag might not deploy include:

  • A low-speed crash that does not impact vehicle occupants with enough force to warrant the potential risk of an airbag deployment
  • A moderate crash in which a vehicle occupant’s safety belt is both in use and sufficient to protect them from the worst of the collision
  • A small child or petite passenger below a certain weight threshold is seated in the front of the vehicle, which can deactivate some airbag systems
  • A small child or petite passenger below a certain weight threshold is seated too close to side airbag zones
  • The airbag has a manufacturing defect or design flaw
  • The airbag was not replaced after the vehicle was involved in a prior wreck

You don’t typically need to do anything to maintain your airbags. However, if an airbag deploys in a crash, it’s essential to replace it with parts made by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Airbags cannot be reused once deployed. A used or counterfeit airbag can fail to protect or even actively harm vehicle occupants.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Airbag Injuries?

When airbags deploy in the wrong situation or fail to deploy in the right one, they can leave vehicle occupants with serious injuries, including whiplash, spinal damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and burns. The IIHS recommends the following safety tips to protect you and your passengers from preventable airbag injuries:

  • The driver and front-seat passenger must sit upright in the seat’s center with feet on the floor.
  • If you’re the driver, ensure your chest is at least 10 inches away from the center of your steering wheel when you drive.
  • Never rest your arms, legs, or any other body part against an airbag compartment, as the explosive force of inflation could result in burns or other serious injuries. Do not let your passenger put their feet on the dashboard.
  • Avoid purchasing aftermarket covers for your dashboard or seats, as the material can stifle or redirect the deployment of an airbag.
  • Have young children sit in rear seats. If a child must sit in the front seat, move the seat as far back as possible and have the child sit as far back as they can.

Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you were hurt as the result of an airbag deploying unsafely or failing to deploy at all, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and related losses, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Butler Kahn today to discuss your case with an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer. Consultations are free, and we only collect a fee if we secure compensation on your behalf.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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