How to Determine if a Rollover Air Bag Contributed to an Injury

anonymous asked:

While all new vehicles sold today must have frontal air bags that deploy from the steering wheel and dash to protect you in a frontal crash, many vehicles also have rollover air bags to shield you during rollover crashes.

 

This article explains how rollover air bags work and protect you in an accident.

 

How Rollover Air Bags Work

 

As their name suggests, rollover air bags are designed to protect you if your vehicle rolls over during an accident. They are installed inside the roof area (“headliner”), along the top edge of the side windows.

 

Generally designed to deploy downward, rollover air bags cover your side windows to protect your head and neck. Because they sometimes resemble a curtain or canopy over the windows, some car companies call them “curtain airbags” or “canopy airbags.”

 

Rollover air bags are much larger in size than other side air bags. They often run the entire length of the car’s interior and can be several feet tall. They are designed to stay inflated and pressurized for much longer than typical side air bags, since rollover accidents usually last much longer than side crashes.

 

For example, rollover air bags can use cold-gas inflation technology, allowing them to remain inflated for about six seconds. Conversely, frontal air bags deflate in less than one second. These systems use a crash sensor that detects when your vehicle starts tipping at the beginning of a rollover accident.

 

Rollover air bags serve two major purposes. First, they protect your head and neck from contacts with the side of your car. Because they are taller than ordinary side air bags, they can also offer greater protection against head trauma from contact to your vehicle’s upper door frame.

 

Second, they can help protect you from being ejected during a rollover crash. Analysis of accident data shows you can be completely ejected or partially ejected from your vehicle even if you are properly wearing your seat belt. Rollover air bags can be very important in preventing such ejections.

 

Rollover Air Bag Defects and Injuries

 

The most common question we get asked by consumers about rollovers is why their rollover air bag failed to deploy. The vast majority of those incidents are due to the air bag system not including a rollover sensor. As a result, it’s not really a rollover air bag system, but only a side impact air bag.

 

Failure to equip a vehicle with a rollover air bag can itself be a defect. This is particularly true for vehicles with a higher risk of rolling over, such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans.

 

Unfortunately, some people are told their vehicles have side curtain air bags or see the “air bag” logo on the interior trim, without realizing that not all of those curtain air bags will deploy in a rollover accident.

 

In some cases, salespeople at dealerships tell customers side impact air bags will deploy in rollover crashes, even when it is not true. That kind of statement can cause the salespeople and the dealer to be held responsible for misrepresentation or fraud when the air bags don’t deploy in a rollover accident. This remains true even if the car company is at fault for failing to install a rollover air bag.

 

Other defects include rollover air bags that “catch” on a piece of plastic trim, causing them to fail to deploy completely or properly. Some rollover air bags include “pockets” that are not well-pressurized, allowing a person to suffer severe head injuries in those locations.

 

In a few cases, we have received reports that rollover air bags failed to deploy because some internal components came apart during the rollover, causing the inflation gas to escape rather than inflate the air bag. This can result in an air bag that fails to protect you, allowing you to be partially or completely ejected.

 

For example, during the rollover, your side glass can shatter and an air bag that isn’t positioned or filled properly can allow your head to move outside your vehicle.

 

These defects can cause severe personal injuries, including head trauma; traumatic brain injuries (TBI); skull fractures; ****** injuries; spinal cord injuries; cervical spine fractures or dislocations; paralysis (paraplegia, quadriplegia); arm and hand injuries, including traumatic amputation; chest injuries; heart injuries; pelvic injuries; bone fractures/orthopedic injuries; flail chest; and numerous other injuries. These injuries can occur whether you are inside your car or ejected.

 

In some cases, defects in rollover air bags can cause death.

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