Understanding Common Airbag Injuries: Risks and Prevention

Airbags save numerous lives each day as they help reduce the risk of hitting the body against rigid surfaces, being thrown out of the vehicle, or sustaining serious injuries from glass shards and debris.

However, they are not without potential hazards and can sometimes result in their own set of injuries. Airbag injuries can have severe effects on car accident victims.

The deployment of an airbag during an accident does not necessarily mean that you have escaped injury-free. Therefore, it is essential to be informed about the types of injuries that airbags can cause so you know what symptoms to watch out for and when to seek treatment for any car accident injury.

If you need treatment for your airbag injuries call our office today at (773) 482-5800 and schedule a consultation.

How Do Airbags Work?

Airbags work through a sequence of operations designed to cushion people in a car during a sudden impact:

  • Car sensors are strategically located throughout the car. When they sense a sudden decrease in speed or an impact, these sensors send a signal that a crash is happening.
  • As soon as the signal is received, an igniter in the airbag inflator is triggered, generating a gas.
  • This gas quickly fills the airbag, leading it to inflate within a fraction of a second. Fast inflation ascertains that the airbag is expanded fully by the time it comes into contact with the body.
  • Almost instantly after inflation, it deflates, thus absorbing the energy and providing a cushion for the occupant.

What Causes Airbag Malfunctions?

Malfunctions with an airbag typically stem from the crash sensor’s inability to activate when required. It may either fail to set off the airbags during an accident or trigger them in the absence of a crash. A sensor might also initiate an airbag too late or fail to activate all the necessary airbags in the vehicle.

Although late deployment may seem like a trivial issue, the rapid pace at which accidents occur makes every moment crucial. For instance, a crash could propel a victim’s head forward due to the impact’s force. If an airbag deploys after the head has already been jolted forward, it could hit the victim’s head, leading to severe brain injuries.

What Are the Common Airbag Injuries in a Car Accident?

While airbags are vital for safety, they can result in an array of accident injuries. The most common injuries include:

Facial Trauma

The abrupt impact of an airbag can result in scrapes, cuts, and even fractures in the face. It’s not rare for accident victims to suffer from facial bruising or swelling.

Neck and Spine Injuries

The intensity of airbag deployment can cause whiplash, characterized by the neck being swiftly jerked back and forth. More serious instances might involve spinal fractures or other related injuries to the cervical spine, particularly if you weren’t secured by a seatbelt.

Soft Tissue Damage

Soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can be injured during an accident. The sudden inflation of an airbag can lead to the straining or tearing of these tissues, resulting in a limited range of motion or mobility.

Chest Injuries

The chest and ribcage may absorb much of an airbag’s impact. This can lead to bruising, fractured ribs, or even internal injuries, particularly if you’re seated too near to the steering wheel.

Brain Injuries

Although airbags are designed to safeguard the head, there’s still a possibility of concussions or other brain-related injuries. Your head may be violently jolted or strike other parts of the vehicle, resulting in potential trauma.

Understanding these typical airbag injuries is essential, particularly if you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident. Early identification and medical intervention can significantly influence recovery outcomes.

Symptoms of Airbag Injuries

Following a car accident, it is important to stay vigilant regarding any changes in your body. Some of the typical airbag injuries to look out for include:

  • Swelling, redness or abrasions in your face
  • Pain, stiffness, or limited range of motion in the neck. These are usually signs of a whiplash
  • Vision changes, irritation, or eye injuries
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest, particularly when you take a deep breath.
  • Dizziness, confusion, or constant headaches

It is also imperative to watch out for delayed symptoms. Some injuries, like soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, and brain injuries, might not be apparent immediately. So, any health changes or unusual discomfort after an accident should warrant a visit to the doctor.

How to Protect Yourself Against Airbag Injuries

Protecting yourself against possible airbag injuries starts in the driver’s seat itself. Maintaining the correct seating position is key. Sit straight, making sure there’s at least a 10-inch gap between your chest and the steering wheel.

This space diminishes the force of impact when the airbag inflates. In addition, always fasten your seat belt. It will protect you from being thrown out during an accident and will also ensure you are in the best position if the airbag activates.

Types of Treatments We Offer

Call Our Office for Effective Treatment for Airbag Injuries

Similar to other injuries sustained in vehicle collisions, airbag injuries call for expert attention. At Chicago Personal Injury Centers, our chiropractors collaborate with various other practitioners and experts to develop all-inclusive treatment plans for victims of car accidents ad airbag injuries.

If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash where airbags were used, get in touch with us by calling (773) 482-5800 immediately for an assessment.