Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Airbags according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags cause hundreds of cases of airbag injury a year. Research has shown that people most prone to airbag injury are children and adults with above average height. Airbag injury is also more likely to affect these demographics more severely.have been instituted as a safety measure, along with seatbelts, to help avoid accident related injuries. While airbags are very effective at decreasing the total mortality rate from driving, there is still airbag injury that can result from being involved in a car collision. Please contact our team of Orlando auto accident attorneys if you’ve experienced an airbag injury.
An airbag is a light fabric pouch made to fill with gas very quickly from the rapid expansion of a chemical reaction. The chemicals used for this process are usually nitrogen or argon. The airbag is filled with gas after being triggered by a crash sensor. This is triggered by a head-on collision from as low a speed as 10 to 15 miles per hour. When fully inflated, an airbag is about the size of a beach ball. The airbag expands to this size in about 1/20th of a second.
The deceleration force of a driver after impact is partly determined by the car’s deforming ability from the accident. If an unrestrained person hits the interior of a vehicle, the stopping distance is determined by the way the car crushes. Airbags compliment the process of absorbing impact force from the accident away from the driver. Without an airbag present, a driver could potentially sustain a considerable injury from the steering wheel.
What Causes Airbag Injury?
When the airbag of a car deploys, it is ejected from the dashboard at an extremely high speed. An airbag generally expands at about 100 miles per hour. The substances that cause this explosive action also generate extreme amounts of heat from combustion. This makes many cases of airbag injury a result of burns from the high temperature. Dust and chemicals from the airbag can cause airbag injury by irritating the eyes, skin, or lungs. Even minor accidents can cause burns to the face from airbag deployment.
The speed at which the airbag expands can cause burns or abrasions. Airbag injury can be particularly harmful if a person is not wearing a safety belt or is leaning close to the dashboard when the airbag deploys. Many cases of airbag injury can cause serious injury or death.
Research studies have examined the effects of motor vehicle accidents on people both with and without the protection of airbags. One of the conclusions made was that seatbelts and frontal airbags presented the highest risk of chest wall injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Airbag manufacturers recommend a distance of at least 25cm between the driver and steering wheel to help avoid these types of injuries.
Airbag Injury Lawyer Orlando – More on Burns
Significant chest wall airbag injury from burn is a common problem. Airbags usually also make contact with the driver’s face resulting in facial burns. Surface burns from airbag injury should not be discounted as minor since they can cause serious problems for the driver. However, minor cases are also present and airbag injury from burns to the face or other areas can often heal quickly.
Monkhouse, Simon, and Michael Kelly. “Airbag-related chest wall burn as a marker of underlying injury: a case report.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2.91 (2008): 1752-1947. Web. 13 Sep. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2330057/>.
Wallis, L. A., and I. Greaves. “Injuries associated with airbag deployment.” Emergency Medicine Journal. (2002): 490-493. Web. 13 Sep. 2013. <http://emj.bmj.com/content/19/6/490.full>.