Airbags save lives. However, they can also cause serious injuries and, in some cases, death. If you or a loved one was in a car accident and suffered an airbag injury, you could be entitled to a significant financial award.
Hasner Law, PC can help you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve. Give our office a call to arrange a time to sit down and discuss your case. Don’t hesitate to contact our auto accident lawyers today to have your case evaluated for free.
How the Personal Injury Lawyers at Hasner Law Can Help You
At Hasner Law, our lawyers have more than 80 years of combined experience helping auto accident victims just like you. We’ve helped our clients recover millions of dollars in compensation, and we’re here to help you, too.
How? We’ll carefully investigate your case, bring in experts, and determine exactly why and how you got hurt. We’ll identify if the air bags were defective or if the owner of the car failed to maintain the vehicle properly. We’ll search for any evidence to support a personal injury claim so that we can make sure that you’re fully compensated for your injuries.
Give our Atlanta law office a call today to arrange a free case assessment with our accomplished team. We can review your case, explain your options, and help you figure out the best way to pursue the compensation you deserve.
How Do Airbags Work?
Seatbelts are the most important safety feature in a car. Frontal and side airbags are a close second, supplementing the protection offered by a belt. How do they work? When a car is involved in a moderate to severe crash, an electronic system sends a signal to an inflator inside of the airbag to deploy it.
A chemical reaction occurs, which creates a harmless gas. The gas fills the airbag, forcing it out of the dashboard or side door panel. All of this can happen in less than 1/20th of a second.
Today, advanced frontal airbag systems can sense the amount of pressure on a passenger seat. This can help the system determine who might be sitting in the seat and, in turn, customize deployment force and speed to make the airbag as effective as possible.
What is a Moderate to Severe Crash?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that frontal airbags are supposed to deploy whenever a car is involved in a “moderate to severe” head-on or near head-on collision. This is defined as hitting a solid barrier while traveling at a minimum speed of 8 to 14 MPH. If you hit a parked car that’s roughly the same size as yours, you’d have to be traveling at a minimum speed between 16 and 28 MPH to deploy your frontal airbags.
Why Do Airbags Cause Injuries?
There are a two primary reasons why airbags cause injuries – force and defect.
The Force of an Airbag
Airbags have to deploy quickly and with great force to be effective. In fact, they can deploy at speeds up to 200 MPH. If you’re sitting close to an airbag, that can cause extensive damage. That’s especially true if something gets caught between you and the airbag during an accident while it deploys, such as a bottle, can, or anything sharp.
Healthy adults who are wearing a seatbelt and are seated as far back from an airbag as possible are least likely to sustain an airbag injury. Damage caused by the deployment tend to affect young children and the elderly, as well as adults who sit extremely close to the dashboard or steering wheel. For that reason, it’s advised that children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat.
Airbags can also cause injuries if they don’t work properly. There are two ways an airbag is typically defective – if it fails to deploy or explodes. Exploding airbags, in particular, pose a serious threat to occupants of passenger vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, Takata airbags – which were installed in tens of millions of cars – have been recalled for precisely this reason. Why? These airbags have been known to explode after being exposed to high heat and humidity for long periods of time. When this happens, debris and metal shards can be projected around the car and directly into passengers.
Other Takata airbags have been recalled due to underdeployment. During a crash, these airbags do not inflate fully, which prevents them from cushioning passengers during a car accident.
Common Types of Airbag Injuries
When airbags don’t work properly or deploy with great force, vehicle occupants can sustain minor, severe, and fatal injuries. The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Hasner Law understand that any injury, regardless of severity, can have a dramatic effect on your life. That’s why we will stand by your side and help you fight to get money for all of your airbag injuries, including:
- Soft tissue damage, including sprains, strains, and bruising
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Cervical spine injuries
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Eye injuries
- Hearing loss and tinnitus
- Fetal injury and miscarriage
- Wrongful death, and more.
Any of these injuries can easily alter the course of your life, inflicting serious physical and emotional pain. Our accomplished legal team is here to help in any way that we can. To get started, just give our Atlanta law firm a call to schedule a free consultation.
How Common Are Airbag Injuries and Deaths?
Airbags, when used in conjunction with a seatbelt, can save your life. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that, between 1987 and 2017, frontal airbags saved more than 50,000 lives. In just 2017, alone, frontal airbags are credited with saving the lives of 2,790 adults across the United States. It’s estimated that airbags reduce driver and passenger deaths in frontal crashes by 29 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
But, airbags can also be harmful. How often are airbags responsible for injuries and deaths? The U.S. Department of Transportation analyzed crash data from 1990 to 2007. It discovered that 284 deaths could be attributed to airbags.
Nearly two-thirds of those fatalities were children. Children who were not secured in a rear-facing car seat accounted for more than 53 percent of all deaths. Children who were in a rear-facing child restraint system accounted for less than 10 percent of all deaths. Drivers were killed more often than adult passengers.
How to Reduce the Risk of an Airbag Injury in Atlanta
You can take steps to minimize the chances of suffering an airbag injury. Among other things:
- Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Make sure that children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat in an appropriate child restraint system whenever possible.
- Turn off airbags when an adult with a medical condition is sitting in the passenger seat.
- Replace airbags if those installed in your vehicle have been recalled.
- Sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel, if possible.
- Tilt your steering wheel toward your chest, rather than your head.
- Replace airbags after an accident.
These simple steps can help to minimize the force of impact if and when your airbag deploys in an accident. In turn, you can limit the extent of any injuries you might sustain in a crash.
Who is Responsible For Airbag Injuries?
It really depends on why and how you were injured. If you were injured because your airbags were defective, you could have a legitimate claim against the manufacturer or car company. If the driver of the car knew that the airbags didn’t work or might be defective, you could potentially have a claim against them, too.
Keep in mind that your claim for damages might depend heavily on whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt. Not wearing a seatbelt, which is required by law, is associated with an increased risk of sustaining an injury when an airbag deploys. The driver, owner of the car, insurance companies, or auto manufacturer might use this information to establish negligence on your part. If your own negligence contributed to your injuries, your ability to recover compensation can be limited or prohibited
Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws, you can recover compensation as long as you’re allocated less than 50 percent of the blame. Your damages will be reduced by however much blame is assigned to you. So, for example, your damages would be reduced by 30 percent if you’re 30 percent to blame. Once you share more than half of the responsibility for your injuries, you’ll be barred from recovering any money, at all.
Damages Available to Airbag Injury Victims in Atlanta, GA
If you’ve suffered airbag injuries in Atlanta, Georgia, you could be entitled to a financial award from the driver, owner of the car, or manufacturer. This award could include both economic and non-economic damages for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost income and wages
- Disability, and more.
If someone you love has died because of an airbag injury in Georgia, you could also be entitled to compensation. The team at Hasner Law can help you navigate a wrongful death claim and fight to secure money for your devastating loss.
Statute of Limitations for Airbag Injury Lawsuits in Georgia
Georgia state law limits the amount of time you’ll have to pursue compensation for your airbag injuries. Typically, the statute of limitations in these types of cases is two years. The clock begins to run once you have discovered your injury. This might be the day of the crash or days, weeks, or months down the line.
You will not be able to recover any compensation from at-fault parties if you don’t file your claim on time. So, don’t hesitate to contact our Atlanta personal injury attorneys for help after you get hurt. Time is ticking, and we can help to ensure that your legal right to compensation is protected.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Atlanta Airbag Injury Lawyers
Have you suffered an airbag injury in Atlanta, Georgia? Contact Hasner Law for immediate legal assistance. We can help you understand your rights and figure out the best way to demand the money you deserve. Your first consultation is free, so give us a call today.