a deployed airbag after an accident | Coplan and Crane

Do Airbags Cause Chemical Burns?

February 28, 2023

While they can save your life in the event of a serious car accident, in some situations, airbags cause chemical burns and can leave you suffering from various types of injuries. According to one study, burns account for nearly eight percent of all injuries resulting from airbag deployment. This includes burns caused by the release of chemicals when an airbag deploys.

If you were involved in a crash that resulted in injury – including an airbag injury – the Chicago car accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us now for a FREE case review.

Airbag Deployment Causes Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

When a car’s onboard computer senses a serious collision, it sends a signal to the airbags in the vehicle. This signal triggers small explosions that cause the airbags to inflate in just 100 milliseconds. When these explosions occur, they release alkaline byproducts, nitrogen gas, carbon-dioxide, metallic oxides, and sodium hydroxide—all of which have corrosive properties. Exposure to these corrosive chemicals can cause burns on the face, arms, and other parts of the body. 

The severity of the chemical burns caused by airbag deployment can vary based on several factors. These factors include the specific chemicals to which the driver or passenger is exposed and the duration of exposure, among others. While some chemical burns caused by airbag deployment are fairly minor, others can require extensive treatment and result in permanent disfigurement. 

Seeking Justice When Airbags Cause Chemical Burns

When car accidents lead to chemical burns caused by airbag deployment, injured drivers and passengers can (and should) file claims for just compensation. In these cases, potential claims include (but are not limited to):

1. A Claim Against the Other Driver 

If a negligent driver caused your car accident, you should be able to file a claim under the driver’s auto insurance policy. Chemical burns caused by airbag deployment (and other airbag-related injuries) are generally considered to be accident-related, and this means that they are covered under negligent drivers’ bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance policies in most cases. 

2. A Claim Against the Airbag Manufacturer 

While it is possible for airbag deployment to cause chemical burns even when an airbag functions properly, severe burns will be indicative of airbag defects in some instances. If your chemical burns are the result of an airbag defect, the manufacturer may be liable for the costs (both financial and non-financial) of your treatment and recovery. 

3. A Claim for Medical Malpractice 

Chemical burns present different risks from thermal burns (burns caused by heat); and, as a result, they require different forms of treatment. But, as one medical association explains, “[t]he clinical manifestation of [a] burn may not distinguish whether it . . . chemical or thermal.” 

As a result, doctors must correctly diagnose the cause of car accident victims’ burns; and, when there is the possibility of a chemical burn, “the wound should be copiously irrigated and treated as though there is alkali chemical contamination.” If a doctor improperly diagnoses or treats a chemical burn caused by airbag deployment, this could lead to a claim for medical malpractice—in addition to any other claims that may be available. 

What To Do if You Suffer Chemical Burns Caused By Airbag Deployment

If you have suffered chemical burns caused by airbag deployment during a car accident, there are some important steps you should take to protect your legal rights and maximize your chances of a full recovery. These steps include:

  • Seek Treatment Promptly – After suffering chemical burns in a car accident, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. When seeking treatment, be sure to tell your doctor that you were injured in a car accident involving airbag deployment, and mention specifically that you may have suffered chemical burns. 
  • Take Care of Your Wounds – With all types of burns, proper wound care can be essential for minimizing the risk of infection, disfigurement, physical limitations, and other long-term complications. As a result, you should make sure you care for your wounds properly, and follow up with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. 
  • Seek Help from a Local Lawyer – The costs of treatment for chemical burns caused by airbag deployment can be substantial. These injuries can lead to other significant financial and non-financial costs as well. To recover these costs, you will need an experienced local lawyer on your side. 

Contact Coplan + Crane for a FREE Consultation Today

If you need to speak with a lawyer about seeking financial compensation for chemical burns you sustained due to airbag deployment, contact us for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our Chicago car accident lawyers can help you seek damages for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.

To speak with a lawyer in Chicago, Oak Park, or Rockford as possible, call (708) 358-8080 or submit your contact information online now.