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Side Impact Airbags

Side Impact Airbags

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Side impact crashes are second only to head-on impact for causing occupant fatalities in passenger vehicles and account for about a quarter of the passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the United States.  In 2011 there were 32,367 fatalities nationwide.  In New York there were 1,169 fatalities statewide.

Side impact crashes are so deadly because of the limited space and structure between the occupant and the outside.  The person nearest to the point of impact, the “nearside” occupant, has only the door, sill, roof rail and supporting pillars between the incoming object and the passenger.

Seat belts provide little protection to the nearside passenger whereas side air bags provide the best protection.  Electronic crash sensors detect the collision and determine whether the air bags must deploy.  In 2002 side curtain air bags began having rollover activated deployment which would activate even when there is no collision.  The gyroscopic device detects when the vehicle is about to rollover and stay inflated longer, as much as 7 seconds to compensate for the longer time typical of a rollover.  Rollover accidents account for more than one third of occupant deaths even though they occur in less that 3 percent of all crashes.

Torso and head protecting are the two types of side air bags in use.  Torso air bags deploy from the seat or door to provide an energy absorbing cushion and were first available in the 1990’s.  Head protecting air bags provide more protection.  Head injuries account for a substantial number of the most severe injuries.  Head protecting air bags are usually the side curtain type which drop down from the roof rail and cover most of the front and rear window area protecting both front and rear seat occupants

Anyone seriously injured in a side crash should investigate whether their manufacturer and distributor of the car should have installed side impact airbags.  The “failure to install” depends on the vehicle’s year, make and model.  Manufacturers of newer cars without side air bags are potentially responsible in strict liability, negligence and/or failure to warn claims.  Claims must be evaluated on a case by case basis.  If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a side impact crash, contact the Law Offices of Charles N. Rock to have the case fully evaluated, even if you purchased the car without side air bags.

The Law Offices of Charles N. Rock, p.l.l.c. serves Newburgh, Beacon, Middletown, Kingston, New Windsor, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie and other communities throughout the Hudson Valley.

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Category: Car Accidents, Personal Injury
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