What makes airbags dangerous?
Airbags are designed to deploy (inflate) in a fraction of a second to provide a buffer between hard surfaces of a vehicle and the passenger it is designated to protect. Upon rapid deceleration of the vehicle, an airbag can be propelled against the passenger at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. As one would imagine, the speed of the deployed airbag exerts substantial, sudden force against the person it is designed to protect. That force has caused serious harm, and even death, to passengers, particularly young children and adults of small stature. The driver side airbag is housed in the horn pad of a vehicle’s steering wheel, directly between the parts of the steering wheel the driver holds onto with both hands. As a consequence, there is a great potential for the driver to experience wrist and arm injuries upon deployment. There are accounts of drivers having the sleeves of their clothes “melted” onto their arms of passengers when an airbag suddenly deployed. The outside of the airbag is made of soft, nylon fabric. Unfortunately, the speed of deployment can cause the soft nylon surface of the bag to have surface tension equivalent to sandpaper. It is not uncommon for passengers to experience friction and power burns, detached retinas, suffocation and impact deaths as a result of the explosive force resulting from the rapid deployment of a properly functioning airbag. A properly functioning airbag is still a supplemental safety device and is intended to be used in conjunction with a lap/shoulder seat belt. Many unnecessary injuries result when a passenger does not use a seatbelt, is located closer to the airbag than the airbag designers envisioned, and receives an impact upon deployment much greater than if the passenger was at the proper distance from the airbag. Even with the advent of side curtain airbags, the effectiveness of airbags and the potential dangers of airbag deployment are magnified without the use of lap/shoulder seat belts.
Despite all of the innovative ideas to make airbags safer, they still pose a danger in the event they fail to perform in the way manufacturers intended them to, and many vehicles with older technology airbags are still on the road. If you, or a loved one, are injured as the result of an airbag malfunction, you need the help of an experienced and aggressive attorney to insure you receive all the compensation you are entitled to, and all of your rights are protected. The Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners would be honored to help you. Please call Dan at (407) 888-8000. It is a free call, and the information you may receive could be priceless.