What Should I Do If My Vehicle’s Airbag Deploys?

Airbags, used in conjunction with seat belts, have become essential safety tools for motorists.  Front driver and passenger airbags have been required equipment in U.S. manufactured cars since 1998.  Today, there are vehicles which feature more than ten different airbags – some, with airbags right in the seat belt itself. The NHTSA estimated that in 2012 alone over 2,200 lives were saved because of air bags. 

How Does An Airbag Work?

Airbags are lightweight, fabric structures designed to protect a driver or passenger by inflating before a person contacts something hard inside the vehicle – such as the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, door panel, etc.  When a vehicle is in a collision, a signal is sent from the airbag’s electronic control unit to its inflator.  The inflator then triggers a chemical reaction, producing a gas which inflates the airbag. On average, it takes only about 20 to 30 milliseconds for a driver’s side airbag to inflate.  The gas used to inflate the airbag is like rocket booster fuel.

What to Do If Your Vehicle’s Airbag Deploys?

What should you do if your airbag deploys in a crash?If your airbag deploys during a collision, chances are the impact was sufficient to cause a disabling personal injury.

  1. The first thing you should do is call 9-1-1 and stabilize any serious problems.  If necessary, seek medical attention. 
  2. In some vehicles, when the airbag inflates, the engine automatically shuts off.  This is to prevent any fires from possible fuel leaks.  If your vehicle does not automatically kill, turn off the engine.
  3. If the airbags have deployed, the car should NOT be driven.  You need to obtain an alternative way home or the medical care. 

After the Collision 

Do NOT drive the vehicle again until your car is inspected by a mechanic.  Your vehicle should be inspected to determine the extent of the damage.  You should take pictures of the vehicle’s damage in case it is needed later.  I also recommend writing down as much as you remember about the circumstances of the accident as soon as possible after the collision.  This helps you not forget important aspects of the situation.  You should also follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations regarding treatment for any injuries that you received.

If you or someone you love is in an accident and suffer a disabling personal injury that requires hospitalization and you to miss work, give us a call at Louisiana Disability Law.  We have the experience to guide you through this difficult process and advise you on both the injury aspects of your claim and the disability aspects of your claim.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability and Personal Injury Attorney