28 Apr, 2023

Can You Get Compensation for Airbag Burns?

Author Todd A. Strong

Although airbags do save lives, they are also responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Airbags are manufactured to inflate upon impact when a vehicle accident occurs. While airbags look like soft inflatable pillows, they are actually made from a rough textured material that can explode in your face, even in a low-speed accident.

Male Motorist With Whiplash Injury In Car Crash With Airbag Deployed
Male Motorist With Whiplash Injury In Car Crash With Airbag Deployed

Newer model cars, SUV's, and trucks are equipped with a number of safety features that protect drivers and passengers on the road. In 1991, the federal government passed a measure requiring all light-duty trucks and cars to have front driver and passenger side airbags by September 1, 1998. In newer trucks, side airbags are not mandatory, but they are an option. Advanced braking and steering features, warning systems, seatbelts, and vehicle airbags are meant to save lives in the event of a crash. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), airbags help prevent injuries and save lives. Front airbags reduce driver deaths by 29% and passenger deaths by 32%. Side airbags in cars reduce driver deaths by 37%. Airbags in SUVs and trucks reduce driver deaths by 52%. 

What Causes Airbag Burns?

Although airbags do save lives, they are also responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Airbags are manufactured to inflate upon impact when a vehicle accident occurs. While airbags look like soft inflatable pillows, they are actually made from a rough textured material that can explode in your face, even in a low-speed accident. 

When airbags deploy, a chemical reaction that generates gas and heat often causes chemical burns and gas burns to the face, neck, hands, arms, and chest, as well as other serious injuries including:

  • Eye injuries and blindness
  • Lung and respiratory burns
  • Broken bones and amputations
  • Heart muscle ruptures
  • Concussions and skull fractures
  • Internal bleeding

Airbag injuries can be severe, and damage to internal organs may go undetected without proper medical care. If you're injured by exploding airbags, it's essential to seek proper medical care right away.

Can You Get Compensation for Airbag Burns?

If you suffer injuries from an exploding airbag, a burn injury attorney can help you get compensation for airbag burns and other injuries. Your attorney will investigate the car accident or incident that caused your airbags to deploy.

Personal injury attorneys often see airbag burns and injuries caused by defective airbags, which usually fall into three categories: 

  • The airbags do not deploy upon impact 
  • The airbags deploy incorrectly, either under-inflated or with too much force
  • The airbags deploy for no reason at all.

Over the last decade, personal injury attorneys have seen many injuries and deaths linked to faulty Takata airbags. Defects in Takata airbags are linked to at least 27 deaths and over 100 million recalled vehicles worldwide. Takata's defective airbags installed in a variety of American-made and foreign-made vehicles pose lethal dangers to both drivers and passengers. Investigations show that the inflators used in Takata airbags become unstable over time, causing them to rupture or explode. When this occurs, metal fragments like shrapnel are forcefully shot into the vehicle's cabin.

Takata airbags were commonly used in cars manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. These defects occurred between 2001 and 2007, and in some cars manufactured between 2008 and 2011. Fortunately, Takata airbags are no longer used in new cars, but that doesn’t mean your car is safe.

Damages in an Airbag Burn Claim

If you suffer airbag injuries from a motor vehicle accident, you can seek compensation for airbag burns and other physical injuries. Airbag burns are most commonly caused by defective airbags, but injuries can occur even when airbags are functioning properly. Either way, you should consult a personal injury attorney who can help you with compensation for airbag burns and other types of airbag injuries.

Airbag burns often cause serious injuries, scarring, and permanent disfigurement. Burns caused by exploding airbags are often painful and difficult to treat, requiring plastic surgery, skin grafts, physical and emotional therapy, and long-term rehabilitation. Damages in airbag burn claims may include financial compensation for current and future medical expenses, current and future therapy expenses, current and future rehabilitation expenses, lost wages and future lost wages, and prescription medications.

If you suffer disfigurement from airbag burns, you can also claim damages for non-monetary losses. Scarring and other disfigurements can create difficulties with your everyday activities, self-care, relationships, and intimacy. Although your physical pain may be managed with prescription medications, your injuries may impact your ability to drive, further complicating your life and restricting normal activities. You may no longer be able to participate in the activities you enjoyed before being injured. These non-monetary losses are classified as economic damages, and often include pain and suffering, disfigurement or disability, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

If you're in a car accident and suffer injuries from an airbag, you need an accident lawyer who is experienced with airbag burn injury claims. This will help ensure compensation for airbag burns, as well as other types of injuries caused by your accident.Personal injury attorneys handle a wide variety of injury cases that include vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, physical assaults and acts of violence, defective products, premises liability, medical malpractice, and workers' compensation. When injuries are caused by the negligent actions of a manufacturer who makes defective airbags, you may have a credible case that results in substantial compensation for airbag burns.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.