The Effects of Airbag Deployment in Your Car Accident Claim

By Peter DePaolis

The insurance claims adjuster will automatically consider the collision to be a significant crash if your airbags deployed because it usually takes a substantial impact to set off airbags. In other words, the insurer knows that they are not dealing with a low-speed, low-impact “fender-bender.” 

You can talk to a Maryland personal injury attorney to learn more about the effects of airbag deployment in your car accident claim. Also, a lawyer can provide legal advice and deal directly with the insurance company so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.

Airbags Can Cause Injuries

Having an airbag deploy could save your life in a severe crash, but these devices can also cause some injuries in the process of shielding you. Wounds are more likely if a driver does not wear a seatbelt because they are at a higher risk of colliding with the steering wheel in the short interval that it takes for the airbag to deploy and inflate. 

Also, unrestrained drivers might not be sitting up straight and flat back against the driver’s seat, meaning that they might be closer to the airbag than they should be when the device inflates. Regardless of whether the driver or passenger wears a seatbelt at the time, an airbag can cause the following:

  • Injuries to the chest, for example, broken ribs, punctured lung, bruises, fractured sternum, and lacerations, and damaged heart tissue
  • Facial injuries like facial bone fractures, damage to the eye socket or eye, bruising, lacerations, facial paralysis from nerve damage, and loss of vision or hearing
  • Spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Damage to internal organs and soft tissue

When you have substantial injuries like this after an airbag deployment, the insurance company might anticipate having to offer a larger amount of money to settle your accident claim.  

How It Affects Your Claim if Your Airbag Did Not Deploy

This software built into vehicles that triggers an airbag deployment is based on multiple factors, not merely the speed the vehicle was traveling at the time of the impact or the level of force of the collision. The insurance company might say to you that the collision was not significant because the airbags did not deploy, however, they know that there are other factors in play that can affect deployment.

In addition to things like the weight of the driver and the angle or location of the contact between the vehicles, an airbag could fail to deploy because of a failure of your vehicle’s crash sensors, the airbag itself, or the software. Also, people can suffer severe injuries even in low-speed collisions. 

Defective Airbags

Some airbags have defects that caused them to have “hair trigger” inflation when they should not actually inflate. Heat and humidity can increase the risk of one of these defective airbags deploying when it should not do so. These defective devices also tend to send jagged pieces of metal and hard plastic flying through the air into the face, neck, and chest of drivers, causing catastrophic or fatal injuries. These wounds caused by defective airbags are in addition to the injuries from the accident itself. An injury claim involving a defective airbag is a complicated legal matter, with multiple parties blaming each other for the injuries to the victim. Whether your collision involved a properly-functioning or defective airbag deploying or the failure of a bag to deploy, you will want to talk to a Maryland personal injury attorney for help with your injury claim. Get in touch with our office today for legal help, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.