One of the most integral safety features in any vehicle aside from the seat belt is the airbag. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, estimates that over 50,000 lives have been saved by airbags in motor vehicle accidents as of 2017. That does not mean, however, that airbags are harmless. They deploy very quickly to soften impacts in car accidents, but that can also mean that they hit you hard. This, unfortunately, can lead to serious and even catastrophic head injuries.
Concussions from airbags in car crashes are all too common in Virginia, but a personal injury lawyer at Montagna Law can help you fight for compensation in the aftermath to cover the costs of medical care and more. Our experienced Virginia car accident attorneys will work with you every step of the way, from a free consultation to representing you in court if it goes that far.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, that is caused when the head takes a blow that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth, similar to whiplash. This rapid movement causes chemical changes in the brain and will sometimes even stretch and damage brain cells. Despite often being considered mild brain injuries because they are usually not life-threatening serious injuries that require an emergency room visit, concussions can have more long-lasting effects than you might think.
Some of the potential side effects of a concussion injury include trouble with memory recall, focus, and concentration. Victims may additionally experience fatigue, insomnia, sensitivity to light and sounds, and mood changes. These post-concussive symptoms may not manifest for a long period of time, but some cases leave people dealing with them for decades. These injuries can easily impact one’s ability to work and even maintain relationships.
Yes, an airbag can cause a concussion due to the speed of its deployment and the force it has when it makes contact. As a disclaimer, it may not necessarily be the airbag itself that causes the injury directly, but it may put your head in a position to be injured. Many concussions are caused when a person’s head hits the back of the seat after rebounding off the airbag, though it is still initially caused by the airbag.
It is important to note that the symptoms of a concussion may not be immediately noticeable in the wake of an accident. You will need to monitor your state of being for some time afterward to keep an eye out for symptoms like confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, and ongoing headaches.
A concussion is not always apparent in the wake of an accident like many other common injuries. The best thing you can do is go to a doctor for medical treatment immediately, as they will be able to diagnose a concussion as well as any other car accident injuries you may have suffered. Even so, there are a few signs that may indicate you have a concussion or some kind of head trauma. They include:
While automakers have taken steps to reduce the chances of injury from airbags, you can be proactive and take some actions yourself to keep people in the vehicle safe when driving in Virginia. First, you should sit in the center of your seat upright and against the seatback with your feet on the floor. Many injuries occur when people are sitting too close to the steering wheel or dashboard.
Additionally, you should never rest your arms or legs against any point from which the airbag deploys. Seat covers and an aftermarket dash can actually interfere with airbag deployment. They could either block an airbag or redirect it in such a way that increases your likelihood of injury.
If you are driving with small children, they should sit in the rear seats securely buckled. Airbag force can be severe for a small child sitting in the front, so it is best to avoid that scenario altogether.
If you suffer a concussion from airbag deployment, you may be able to get compensation if the airbag was deployed due to someone else’s negligence and no fault of your own. In addition to the initial medical expenses of treating a concussion, you could potentially suffer long-term complications that will require either extensive care or major changes to your life. These long-term complications can include:
Sometimes, these symptoms can last for months, but other unfortunate victims may have to deal with them for years or even decades. Long-lasting side effects can have a serious impact on one’s life, as they can affect job performance, relationships, physical ability, and overall mental health. These serious consequences certainly warrant compensation, depending on the unique details of your Virginia case.
Damages from accidents typically come in two forms: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that are easily quantifiable, like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are a bit tougher to put a number on, such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
Sorting through the damages you can claim can be tough on your own, which is why you will want an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer on your side throughout the process. They will know how to calculate the damages and even collect evidence to support your claim. Economic damages may be easy enough for you to calculate on your own, but non-economic damages are a bit trickier and often require a lawyer’s touch, so start with a free consultation.
Keep in mind that it is not solely drivers who can receive compensation for injuries caused by airbags. Airbags are set all over vehicles, so passengers can sue for damages as well. Even passengers in the vehicle driven by the person responsible for an accident can file a claim for damages.
The person or entity responsible for airbag malfunctions depends on the unique details of your auto accident case. Some airbag injuries are simply unavoidable. While steps have been taken to make airbags safer, deployment still has the risk of injury like concussions. In those cases, the person or people who caused the accident would be responsible, provided that you were not even partially responsible yourself.
If an airbag failed to deploy or had some other mechanical problem that led to injury, the target of any lawsuit could be much different. In those cases, you may need to focus your efforts against the manufacturer of the airbag or potentially the installer of it. A Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you determine who is ultimately responsible for airbag malfunctions beginning with a free consultation.
At Montagna Law, we believe in a more proactive attorney-client relationship. That is why we prioritize quicker response times and as much access to your personal injury attorney as you want rather than limiting calls and the days communication can occur. Our Virginia law firm will be by your side every step of the way. Begin your case today with a free consultation from one of our skilled car accident lawyers.
If you have suffered a concussion from an airbag in Virginia, contact Montagna Law to get a head start on your personal injury case. Get in touch with an accident attorney at 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form to begin your free consultation.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.