Some vehicles are equipped with side airbags to provide protection in the event of a T-Bone collisions. Side airbags can have positive benefits by preventing your head or chest from banging into hard objects. There are also risks to side airbags. An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows there is a possibility children, or even adults, could be hurt when an airbag deploys.
Following a car crash resulting in injuries, determining the cause of the accident is essential. A driver who goes through a light at an intersection or who doesn't yield can end up hitting the side of another car at a perpendicular angle. The vehicles collide in a "T" configuration, with one vehicle going straight and the other car hitting its side. The driver who went through the intersection should be held accountable. However, if a side airbag works improperly or proves to be dangerous and exacerbates injuries, victims may pursue a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer.
Do Side Airbags Help to Reduce Risks In a T-Bone Crash?
Side-airbags are similar to front airbags because both types of airbags inflate in a fraction of a second to cushion the blow from a collision. While front airbags inflate and deflate immediately to prevent your face from hitting the steering wheel but to avoid trapping you in the car, side airbags may stay inflated for several seconds after initially triggered. The airbags may stay inflated for purposes of protecting you in case your vehicle rolls.
There are several primary types of side airbags, according to SaferCar.gov. Chest and torso airbags are mounted either in the door or in the side of a seat. Head airbags, which are either curtain airbags or tubular airbags, may be mounted in a vehicle's roof rail atop side windows. Tubular side airbags protect occupants of both front and rear seats in a T-Bone collision. Other vehicles have combination head/chest side airbags mounted in a seat's side and large enough to protect both the head and chest.
Sensors determine when side airbags should inflate. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates suggest if all vehicles in the U.S. had side airbags, between 700 and 1,000 annual deaths in side impact collisions could be avoided. In 60 percent of fatal side impact accidents, the deceased suffers brain injuries. By protecting the head, side airbags can significantly reduce the chances of brain damage.
While side airbags clearly have benefits, they are not required by NHTSA, not all vehicles are equipped with them, and the regulations are minimal compared to those for front airbags. This means there may be more risks to side airbags than to front airbags. Injuries to children are a special concern. Prior to 1999, NHTSA warnings told parents not to allow children to sit next to side airbags. NHTSA has since changed its recommendation based on an investigation, but only 92 crashes with side airbags were investigated and only six involved children so there is still inconclusive data.
A group of experts called Technical Working Group (TWG) developed voluntary testing procedures to try to reduce risks of side airbags, and airbags that meet these criteria are designated with an M in owners manuals and charts listing vehicle features. To ensure your side airbags are as safe as possible, check to see if they meet the criteria.
If you or a loved one has been injured contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. at 800-994-1966 or visit https://www.cobywootenlaw.com. Serving Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, TX and surrounding areas.