Houston Airbag Deployment Injury Lawyer

When you think of airbags, you probably think of lifesaving devices. However, many people suffer injuries from these very cushions every year. In fact, certain car brands have experienced serious airbag recalls in the past. These recalls exist only after numerous injuries or deaths occur due to improperly functioning airbags. Not only do airbags cause injury when they malfunction, but they also cause injury when they work properly.

At Reich & Binstock of Houston, we understand that unexpected car accidents happen. That doesn’t mean you should just accept the serious injuries you sustain from your airbags. Sometimes, airbag malfunctions have specific causes, such as manufacturing oversights. We’re here to fight for your just compensation in these cases. If you or a loved one suffered serious injury or even wrongful death due to airbag deployment, you need our experienced personal injury lawyers. Call 713-622-7271 today for your free consultation.

We all know that airbags deploy after a car crash. But, how exactly does airbag deployment work? These inflatable cushions reside inside strategic parts of your vehicle, like the steering wheel or dash. The purpose of airbag deployment is to protect you from both the vehicle’s hard interior and objects outside the vehicle. When a crash occurs, sensors placed around the outside of your vehicle measure the severity of the impact. 

If the sensors determine the crash to be severe enough, they send signals to the inflators, which deploy the airbags almost instantaneously. In most cases, airbag deployment is the only reason why someone needs airbag maintenance. Once they deploy, they must be replaced with parts from the original manufacturer of your vehicle. This ensures that any new airbags are fully functional and not potentially counterfeit or dangerous.

Your airbag just deployed. Now what? We recommend taking certain steps after airbag deployment, in order to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety of your passengers. Below, we include four steps to take after airbag deployment:

  1. Check yourself and others for injuries. If you remain conscious after the crash, check yourself for injuries. After any automobile accident, health and safety are the top priorities. If you find injuries to yourself or others, seek medical attention, if possible.
  2. Turn off your engine. In most modern vehicles, airbag deployment automatically turns your engine off. However, if this mechanism fails or if your car is older, make sure that you turn the engine off. This protects you and your passengers from possible explosions.
  3. Assess the damage. Examine the vehicle and take detailed pictures of the damage. Call the police, as they will write a report about the crash. Contact your attorney, as well as your insurance company, about the crash.
  4. Replace the airbags. Go to your trusted mechanic for airbag replacements. In cases of airbag deployment, it is highly possible that your vehicle was totaled. Speak with your insurance company and mechanic about the damages to determine your next course of action.

Crashes involving airbag deployment result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity. Even though airbags protect more than they harm, they still result in some degree of harm for many people. Below, we list some common airbag deployment injuries:

  • Abrasions
  • Contusions
  • Burns
  • Sprained fingers or wrist injuries
  • Spine injuries
  • Fractures to bones, including the skull, rib cage, or arms
  • Concussions
  • Lacerations
  • Asthma attack triggers
  • Airbag dermatitis, or skin irritation
  • Eye injuries
  • Ear trauma, including hearing loss
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fetal injury to pregnant women

As we see above, the type and severity of airbag deployment injuries vary greatly. Any of the above injuries have the potential to be severe, or even fatal. In order to reduce your risk of serious injury, always position your seats at least 10 inches away from the airbag deployment area.

Airbag deployment is a fairly complex process that happens in the blink of an eye. In order to understand airbag deployment, you'll first need a basic knowledge of  how the crash sensors work. These small electronic devices determine when your vehicle suffers damage. They take in different stimulus types, like sudden stopping or increased pressure. Other sensors also measure seat occupant status (belted or unbelted), wheel speed, and even brake pressure. These sensors send signals to the airbag deployment control unit, and determine when to deploy. 

Next, the inflator- this system receives the deployment signals. It sets off a chemical reaction, which then produces nitrogen gas. This gas fills the airbag at extreme speeds, causing it to burst through its container and into the vehicle’s interior. Within 25 to 50 milliseconds of the crash, your airbag deploys. With that amount of force and speed, it’s no wonder that airbag deployment can lead to injuries.

There are several safety measures to take if you want to reduce or prevent your risk of airbag injuries. Most of the precautions are common vehicle safety practices that also reduce your risk of airbag injuries:

  • Wear a seatbelt. Failing to wear a seatbelt is illegal in the state of Texas. This is due to the life-saving essentiality of seatbelts. Every single passenger in a vehicle, including children, must wear a seatbelt. Not only do they protect you from ejection and hitting the inside of your car, but they also protect your body from moving too close to the airbag deployment area.
  • Sit as far from the steering wheel as you can, within reason. Positioning your seat at least 10 inches away from the deployment area is ideal.
  • Safely restrain all children. Read up on Texas’s child restraint recommendations and ensure that all children are properly restrained in the vehicle. 
  • Install airbag on-off switches. Some situations involve a greater risk of airbag injuries than others. In the below cases, it may be wise to install airbag switches.
    • Your rear seat is too small, so you place a rear-facing infant restraint system in the front seat. Airbags pose a large risk to infants, so turning them off is generally safer.
    • A child under 13 years of age is riding in the front seat because of a medical condition where they must be frequently monitored.
    • You have a medical condition that has increased risks when it comes to airbags.
    • You are short of stature, and therefore must sit closer to the deployment area in order to drive.
  • Do not drive while pregnant. If at all possible, pregnant individuals should not drive. Airbags pose great risks to the fetus, and should be avoided.

After any crash, the first step is always to check yourself and passengers for injury. In cases where you believe the airbag deployment to be related to faulty parts, keep the airbag in your possession. Do not allow any parts to be removed from the vehicle. Your attorney, while building your case, will want access to safety devices like the airbag itself, the crash sensors, and the inflators. Having these items makes personal injury cases easier in court. Next, discuss your plan of action with your attorney. It is important to pursue your claim sooner rather than later, as this also helps your case in court.

Houston Car Accident Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to airbag deployment, you need the Houston car accident attorneys at Reich & Binstock. You only have a limited amount of time to make your claim, so we recommend acting fast. We offer caring and compassionate counsel to victims of car accident injuries. While you focus on recovery, we’ll focus on the legal aspects of your case. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call 713-622-7271 today.

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