Airbag Burns Suffered in Florida Vehicle AccidentsSeptember 19, 2023 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
Every day, airbags play a critical role in reducing vehicle accident fatalities. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has estimated that front airbags have reduced fatalities in front-end accidents by 29 percent for drivers and 32 percent for passengers. Side airbags, introduced in September 1998, have reduced the risk of death in driver-side crashes by 38 percent. In some SUV accidents, side airbags have limited driver fatalities by up to 52 percent.
How Airbag Systems Work
Airbags are inflatable cushions built into a vehicle that protect occupants from hitting the vehicle interior or objects outside the vehicle (for example, other vehicles or trees) during a collision. IIHS reports that the instant a crash begins, sensors start to measure impact severity. If the crash is severe enough, the sensors signal inflators to fill the bags with gas in a fraction of a second. Airbags don’t typically require maintenance unless they deploy in a crash. In that case, they must be replaced at a repair shop that uses original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts to ensure that the new airbag is not counterfeit. Counterfeit airbags may fail to deploy or release metal shrapnel during deployment.
There are risks involved when front and/or side airbags deploy. Undeployed airbags are designed to inflate in a normal manner if the chemicals sealed inside the airbag module reach a temperature above 350 degrees. These temperatures can lead to vehicle occupants suffering friction and/or chemical burn injuries.
Friction Burns – Airbags deploy in milliseconds and at speeds up to 220 miles per hour, cushioning heads from impact. When accident victims encounter the deployed airbags, they may incur friction burns.
Chemical Burns – Airbag chemicals, such as sodium azide, can convert to nitrogen gas and be explosive. If the airbag ruptures, accident victims can end up being burned by the hot gases.
Burns from airbags may be minor (first degree) up to fourth degree. The burns are usually on the face, hands, and chest. Despite how severe the burn is, it is painful and can result in disfigurement or scarring. Infections may also occur.
WebMD classifies burns as follows:
“First-degree. These burns only affect the outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis. A mild sunburn is one example. Your skin may be red and painful, but you won’t have any blisters. Long-term damage is rare.
Second-degree. If you have this type of burn, the outer layer of your skin as well as the dermis – the layer underneath – has been damaged. Your skin will be bright red, and swollen, and may look shiny and wet. You’ll see blisters, and the burn will hurt to the touch.
Third-degree. Sometimes called a “full thickness burn,” this type of injury destroys the epidermis and all layers of your skin. Instead of turning red, it may appear black, brown, white, or yellow. It won’t hurt because this type of burn damages nerve endings.
Fourth-degree. This is the deepest and most severe of burns. They’re potentially life-threatening. These burns destroy all layers of your skin, as well as your bones, muscles, and tendons.”
Potential of Lasting Injuries Following Airbag Deployments
After burns are healed, accident victims may still suffer scarring. They may also need intensive physical therapy to regain mobility, and there may be permanent nerve and muscle damage. Emotional distress may last a lifetime for airbag burn injury victims.
Fort Myers Burn Injury Attorney Assists Airbag Burn Victims
Airbag-burn personal injury cases can be a challenge for accident victims. It is important to contact Fort Myers Burn Injury Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. for assistance immediately after seeking medical attention. There are no costs or attorney fees until the firm receives a monetary recovery.
There are several potential negligent entities in airbag burn accidents, including, but not limited to, other negligent drivers, the airbag manufacturer, and/or the airbag installer. Attorney Randall Spivey and his legal team have won over $219 million in compensation for its clients. All of the firm’s clients have unique personal injury cases, and Spivey Law provides personal contact and communication along with aggressive representation.
“Should you or a loved one be injured in an accident, please contact us at 239.337.7483, toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or online at SpiveyLaw.com,” said Attorney Spivey. “We are your advocates every step of the way.”