The power of an inflating air bag is huge. Airbags are designed to withstand up to 2000 pounds of force. Even though airbags are designed to distribute the force of the impact evenly over the occupant’s upper body, injuries do still occur. Structures of the face, including lips, nose, and temporomandibular joints are likely targets when at the airbag deploys.
The human jaw is especially vulnerable to impact trauma caused by the exploding airbag. A TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) injury is an injury to one or both of the joints that allow for jaw movement. A TMJ injury can be to the cartilage of the joint (similar to a cartilage injury to the knees) or an injury to the muscles and ligaments that power the movement of the jaw joint (often diagnosed as a myofascial injury).
The TMJ is especially susceptible to injury when the head is turned even slightly instead of facing directly ahead so that the force of the airbag strikes the face at an angle and the force of the collision causes a contorted movement of the jaw, causing more injury to one side than the other.
Contact the Schmidt-Salita Law Team to speak with a Minneapolis Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation lawyer if you have been injured by an airbag.