Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Since its invention, safety measures like seatbelts and airbags have made the motorcar safer, but accidents still happen, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

Airbags were designed to reduce injury and harm in the event of an accident, but the deployment of an airbag doesn’t mean you always walk away from an accident injury-free. Although they save lives, they can cause some nasty injuries in the process. If you or any of your loved ones have been injured by an airbag in an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact a personal injury lawyer to find out how to protect your legal rights and file a claim.

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Head and Neck Injuries

Thehead and neck are most at risk of impact in an accident. The force of the collision will often result in the head being forced forward. If the airbag doesn’t inflate, a collision with the steering wheel can be fatal.

However, even when the airbag inflates, the force of the head and neck colliding with the bag can cause tissue damage at the top of the neck, fractures to the facial bones, skull fractures, or damage the eye itself, particularly in cases where the victim is wearing glasses. The force of the airbag can cause the glasses to break which has also been known to lead to a number of optical injuries including detached retinas, lens rupture, and orbital fractures.

Chest and Ribs

For taller drivers, who may have the airbag make contact with their chest, damage to the torso and broken ribs are common. In extremely damaging cases, the airbag’s impact can cause heart valve injuries or cardiac rupture.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Injuries

Shoulder and upper arm injuries are common in crashes where the airbag is deployed and when it fails to activate. The force of the collision combined with the placement of the seatbelt and driving position put the clavicle, particularly at risk. It is not uncommon for dislocations, fractures and extensive bruising to emerge following an accident.

Abrasions and Burns

Because of the speed at which the airbag is deployed, abrasions and burns caused by the friction of the skin coming into contact with the airbag are prevalent. These abrasions and burns are most commonly found on the arms and head. Many of these are relatively minor but can require medical attention and, in severe cases, hospitalization.

There are a number of additional smaller injuries commonly associated with airbag deployment, including induced asthma attacks, acoustic damage, ruptured pregnancy membranes, and small lacerations. However, the four mentioned above are usually the most serious and most prevalent among victims of car accidents.

If you receive medical treatment for any of these injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses. Be sure to contact legal counsel to find out if you have a case and what you can do to protect your legal rights and seek financial assistance for your injuries.