Airbags and seat belts can help to prevent aortic lacerations in some frontal crashes. Yet, there is still a large amount of data showing that they are not entirely effective in preventing aortic tears in auto crashes. Many doctors who have studied how aortic lacerations happen in auto crashes have found that, while seat belts may help to reduce the odds of receiving this type of injury in a frontal crash, they do not eliminate thoracic aorta tears.
The Effectiveness of Seat Belts and Air Bags in Preventing Aortic Injuries in Lateral or Frontal Impacts With a Significant Lateral Component
In lateral impacts, or frontal impacts with significant lateral components, airbags have been shown to be ineffective in preventing thoracic aortic injuries in car crashes. (“Significant lateral components” is defined as a crash where the angle of impact is 20º off center or greater, not just a classic “T-bone” impact.) Many experts attribute this to the fact that airbags generally are designed to prevent the occupant from being injured in a full frontal impact. Many times, in a lateral impact, the airbags do not inflate at all, and even if they do, they do not inflate until after the injury has already been sustained. Seat belts also generally are not designed to prevent injuries from a side impact. Their primary purpose in a side impact is to restrain the occupant from being ejected from the vehicle, and they have not been shown to prevent aortic lacerations.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car crash and has suffered this type of injury, please feel free to call Christopher Ligori & Associates at (877) 444-2929, as we have extensive experience in litigating this type of case with this type of injury.
If you would like to learn more about this type of injury, I encourage you to read the articles listed below in the Journal of Trauma:
Change in Velocity and Energy Dissipation on Impact in Motor Vehicle Crashes as a function of the direction of crash: key factors in the production of thorasic aortic injuries, their pattern of associated injuries and patient survival in a crash injury research engineering network (CIREN) study.
Factors influencing the patterns of injuries and outcomes in car vs. car crashes compared to sport utility, van or pick up truck vs. car crashes; crash injury research engineering network (CIREN) study.