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Airbag Deployment Injuries


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Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, Airbag Deployment Injuries

Airbags are one of the most important safety features in a car and are usually located in the steering wheel for a driver. They have been proven to save lives during car accidents. However, they can also cause injuries if they deploy incorrectly.

When a car is in a collision, the airbags will deploy if the car’s sensors determine that it is necessary. The airbags are filled with gas and will inflate quickly to cushion the impact on the passengers.

The risks of an airbag deploying depend on how it happens. If an airbag deploys too quickly, it can cause injuries to the face and head. If it deploys with too much force, it can cause chest and abdominal injuries.  If it does not deploy at all, it can cause very severe injuries. 

If you have been injured by a defective airbag, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, car dealer, or an at-fault driver. Contact a car accident lawyer at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci today for a free consultation.

Types of Airbag Injuries

There are several types of airbags, including frontal airbags, knee airbags, and side-impact airbags.

Frontal airbags are designed to protect the driver and front-seat passenger in a collision. Knee airbags are located near the dashboard and are designed to protect the knees of the driver and front-seat passengers. Side-impact airbags are located in the car’s side panels and are designed to protect the driver and passengers in a side-impact collision.

woman injured by airbag in a car accident

How Can an Airbag Cause an Injury?

During a car accident, an airbag can deploy at roughly the speed of 100 mph. When you are impacted by anything at that speed, it may result in serious injuries to your body. Airbags are designed to protect car occupants in a collision, but they can also cause injuries if they inflate too quickly or too forcefully.

A faulty airbag can cause injuries because they deploy incorrectly. Faulty airbags can also deploy much later than they should because of a sensor or mechanical problem.

Airbags also release chemicals that are used to deploy them and are known to cause injuries in some cases.

Common Airbag Injuries

The most common airbag deployment injuries cause abrasions and scrapes. However, they can also cause back injuries and more severe injuries. Other injuries that can result from airbags include:

Surface Injuries

The most common car accident injuries after an airbag deploys are surface injuries. These include things like abrasions, contusions, and burns that are immediately visible to the eye and primarily impact your skin.

Abrasions and scrapes are caused by the friction of the skin rubbing against another surface, such as the fabric that airbags are made from. Contusions and bruises occur from the pressure of the deployment of the airbags. These injuries range from mild to severe. However, they can be very painful and may require stitches or surgery.

Arm and Elbow Injuries

The type of arm and elbow injuries resulting from airbags can be divided into four categories:

  • flexor tendon rupture;
  • biceps brachii avulsion;
  • distal radius fracture; and,
  • ulna nerve palsy.

Flexor Tendon Rupture: This is the most common type of arm injury caused by an airbag deploying. The flexor tendon is located in the forearm and is responsible for bending the elbow. When this tendon ruptures, it can no longer bend the elbow. This can make it difficult to use the arm and hand.

Biceps Brachii Avulsion: This injury occurs when the biceps brachii muscle, located in the upper arm, tears away from the bone. This can cause pain and weakness in the arm.

Distal Radius Fracture: The distal radius fracture is a break that occurs near the wrist. It can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty using the hand.

Ulna Nerve Palsy: The ulna nerve is located in the forearm and controls the movement of the hand. It can cause weakness and loss of sensation in the hand when injured.


Whiplash is a type of injury caused when the head moves quickly back and forth and is considered one of the most serious injuries caused by an airbag. This happens when the head and neck are whipped back and forth during a car accident after the airbag deploys. Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness, and headaches.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are those that occur inside of the body and may not be immediately visible. They can include things like:

Chest Injuries: The most common chest injury caused by airbags in car accidents is a ruptured lung. This occurs when the airbag forcefully pushes against the chest, causing the lungs to burst.

Broken Ribs: Broken ribs can occur when the chest is hit by the airbag. This can cause pain and difficulty breathing.

Lacerated Liver: The liver is an organ that is located in the upper right side of the abdomen. It can be lacerated, or cut, by the airbag. This can cause severe pain, bleeding, and shock.

Punctured Lung: A punctured lung is a serious injury that can occur when the chest is hit by the airbag. It happens when a hole is made in the lungs by the force of the impact. This can cause difficulty breathing and chest pain.

Head Injuries

The most common head injury caused by airbags is a concussion. This usually happens due to whiplash or if your head impacts the steering wheel. Concussions can be serious and can cause loss of consciousness, confusion, and headaches. Other head injuries that can be caused by an airbag include:

Skull Fracture: A skull fracture is a break in the skull that can cause bleeding and swelling inside the head.

Brain Hemorrhage: A brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke that occurs when there is bleeding in the brain. This can cause loss of consciousness, confusion, and seizures.


According to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags saved 50,457 lives from 1985 to 2017. They are designed to and are successful at saving lives, but they can also cause death. This happens when a person is hit by the airbag and their head or neck is thrown forward with such force that it causes them to die. Death is rare, but it does happen.

Radial Head Dysfunction

Radial head dysfunction is a condition that can be caused by an airbag deploying. It is a type of wrist injury that affects the radial head, located at the end of the radius bone in the forearm. This condition can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty using the hand.

In summary, deployment injuries in a car accident can range from minor to life-threatening. It is important to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect yourself from injury.

car dashboard with airbags deployed, airbag injuries

The Effects of Airbag Use on Children

The effects of airbags on children are still being studied. In general, it is safer for children to ride in the backseat of a car than in the front seat. If you must have a child in the front seat, make sure they are seated as far away from the airbag as possible and use an appropriate child safety seat.

What Should I Do After an Airbag Deploys?

If you are in a collision and an airbag deploys, stay calm and wait for instructions from the emergency personnel. Do not try to remove the airbag, as it can be dangerous.

What Should I Do If I Am Injured by an Airbag?

If you are injured by an airbag, seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to treat the injury yourself. The injuries that result from an airbag can be severe and may require surgery or hospitalization.

What are the Risks of Not Having Airbags?

The risks of not having airbags in your car are much greater than the risks of having them. Airbags can help to protect you from serious injuries in a collision. Without them, you are at risk for serious injuries.

How Can I Prevent Airbag Injuries?

There are several things you can do to protect yourself from airbag injuries in a car accident. The most important is to wear your seat belt. You should also sit as far back from the airbag as possible and keep your arms and legs away from the front of your body. If you have children, make sure they are seated in the backseat and use the appropriate child safety seat. Finally, make sure you know where the airbag deployment area is located in your car and stay away from it if possible.

You can also ask your car dealer about “smart” airbags, which are designed to deploy more slowly and cause less injury.

Airbag exploded at a car accident, airbag injuries

How Long Does It Take to Heal From Airbag Injuries?

The healing time for airbag injuries varies depending on the type of injury. Minor injuries, such as bruises and cuts, usually heal within a few days. More serious injuries, such as fractures and tendon ruptures, can take weeks or months to heal completely.

Can I Sue for Airbag Injuries?

If you are injured by an airbag, you may be able to sue the manufacturer or the dealership for damages.

Suing the Manufacturer

If you sue the manufacturer, you will need to prove that the airbag was defective and caused your injury. This can be difficult, as airbags are designed to protect people in a collision.

Suing the Dealer

If you sue the dealer, you will need to show that they were negligent in installing or maintaining the airbag. You may also be able to sue them for selling you a car with a defective airbag.

Suing an At-Fault Driver

If you are injured in a collision and the other driver was at fault, you may be able to sue them for your injuries. This includes injuries caused by airbag deployment.

In any case, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci to discuss your options.

man injured by an airbag, sitting after a car accident

What Damages Can I Recover From an Airbag Injury?

The damages you can recover from an airbag injury depend on the type of injury you suffer. Damages are then usually in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages can be quantified in terms of money and typically cover medical expenses for emotional and psychological injuries. Other expenses include lost earnings and property damage. Non-economic damages cannot be easily quantified and are typically awarded in cases where the plaintiff has suffered a physical injury due to the accident.

Contact The Virginia Trial Firm Car Accident Attorneys Today

Airbag deployment can cause confusion, overwhelm, and potentially result in considerable damages. In the aftermath of motor vehicle accidents, seeking fair and just compensation may be difficult, especially if you are dealing with damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the financial compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from an airbag, you should call The Virginia Trial Firm for a free consultation. At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we have years of experience helping car accident victims recover benefits.

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