Airbag Malfunctions


car accident lawyer Harrisonburg, VACar Accident Lawyer Harrisonburg, VA

Getting into an automobile accident is terrifying, as a car accident lawyer Harrisonburg, VA trusts can attest. While airbags are designed to help save your life, sometimes the manner in which they are deployed can cause you and your passenger’s additional harm.

What is the Function of an Airbag?

An airbag is typically deployed when there is enough force during a car crash.  It is intended to help lessen the impact between your body and the car. There is a crash sensor in your car connected to the airbag that is set to deploy if you get into a substantially severe crash. Typically, this is defined as a near head-on or direct head-on collision that occurs at speeds in excess of eight miles per hour.

What Happens When an Airbag is Deployed?

Once the sensor is activated during a crash, it triggers an igniter which produces a gas, usually argon or nitrogen, which fills and then deploys the airbags, as a Harrisonburg, VA car accident lawyer can explain. It takes about 1/20th of a second to deploy, thus making it seem like the airbag appears immediately from the dashboard or steering wheel. The airbag deflates almost as fast as it inflates but during the process of inflating, it releases different kinds of chemicals and dust, sometimes causing irritation to the skin or eyes.

How Does the Airbag Work?

An airbag is made using a thin nylon material folded into the dashboard, steering wheel, seat or door of the car. There are tiny vents in the fabric that permit the gas inside the bag to escape slowly. When the airbag is blown up, it is more like a cushion instead of a solid object. There is a sensor that tells the bag when to inflate. This sensor is triggered during a collision where the force is greater than about eight miles per hour. Once inflated, the airbag is about the same size as a large beach ball. The passenger’s airbag can be considerably larger because it comes from the dash and not the steering wheel.

What if the Airbag Malfunctions?

Unfortunately, there have been many instances when an airbag does not function as it was intended, as a car accident lawyer in Harrisonburg VA knows all too well. The sensor not working properly is most commonly the reason for an airbag malfunction. Examples of sensors not performing as designed include:

  • Deploying the airbag when there was not a crash
  • Not deploying at all
  • One airbag deploying and others not
  • Deploying the airbag too late

Timing is so important during a crash, so serious injuries can occur if an airbag deploys even a microsecond too late. This happens because when a collision happens, the head is thrust towards the dash. If the airbag is late in deploying, as a car accident lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA can explain, the head can be closer to where the airbag is deploying and the airbag can contribute to the driver or passengers’ injuries.

Common injuries as a result of airbag deployment include:

  • Burns or scrapes resulting from the speed at which the airbag was deployed
  • Chemicals that are emitted from the airbag during deployment may contribute to an asthma attack or irritate airways or lungs
  • Eye injuries from the airbag’s deployment

Drivers need to note that in order to avoid serious injuries from airbags, the driver needs to be at least ten inches back from the steering wheel.

If you’ve been in an accident and have suffered an injury as result of a defective airbag, contact a car accident lawyer Harrisonburg, VA relies on from MartinWren, P.C., today.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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