Although seat belts are designed to help a person from severe impact in the event of a car accident, defective seat belts will not offer even a single degree of protection. In fact, it may cause more harm than good during a car accident which could cause you to have to hire a Defective Seat Belt Lawyer. Car manufacturing companies have a duty to the consumer by designing and contracting seat belts that are crashworthy and able to withstand the stresses of an auto accident. A good seat belt must fulfill its intended purpose, which is preventing the passenger from ejection and collision with hard objects.
The moment a seat belt fails in an accident, and as a result, a person becomes injured; that person has all the legal right to seek compensations by filing a legal claim. If you or someone you know is a victim of injuries due to or made worse by a defective seat belt, please contact our personal injury lawyers in Houston today. At Willis Law Firm, we offer free, private case evaluation.
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Seat Belt Failure Report In The United States
The report shows that seat belt failures are common in America than people realize. According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), an estimation of about 3 million people gets injured every year due to seat belt failure. The report further mentions that about 40,000 people die because of preventable seat belt failures. Infarct, when it comes to rollover kind of accident, seat belt failure is said to be the main factor that contributes to severe injuries.
Seat Belt Injuries And The Second Collision
Professionals divide all car accidents into different segments or phases. The first segment is when a cat hits an object or another vehicle. The second segment is when car occupants hit or suffer an injury due to an impact with something in the car or any other object.
During the second segment or phase of a car accident, the consequences of seat belt failure are severe to the vehicle occupant. The primary function of a seat belt is minimizing impact injuries. As such, when they fail, there is nothing to limit the damages or injuries from an impact.
Injuries to the spine, abdomen, chest, head, and extremities are common when a defective seat belt is involved. As such, a victim of such an accident may suffer from serious internal bleeding, pinched nerves, extreme whiplash, and other internal organ injuries.
What Can Make A Seat Belt Fail?
The sad truth is that sometimes seat belt installation, manufacturing, and/or design may be defective, causing a vehicle to have a defective seat belt. Below are some of the leading factors that lead to seat belt failure:
A Poorly Mounted System
The best and efficient anchor point of any system is a car’s seat(s). other anchor points may create poor seat geometry. A seat belt must function together with a seat; otherwise, the effectiveness of the whole system will reduce.
After an accident, a seat belt’s retractor is designed to lock and hold vehicle occupants in place. If the locking device fails, it can cause serious harm.
Vehicles safety belts are designed to withstand extremely high degrees of force. For this reason, if the safety belt rips, it simply means that it has defective material.
Sometimes, a seat belt may feel and look like it has been secured properly. However, it might not be fully engaged. If this is the case, even the most minor of accidents may result in serious injuries. It was only a decade ago when Takata recalled more than 8 million vehicles for this issue.
Although many car manufacturing companies claim that this does not happen, tests are proving that certain car crash forces may make a safety belt to unlatch.
Remember, these are just but a few factors that may make safety belts cause injuries. The sad truth is that if you are wearing your seat belt, and then it becomes unlatched during the accident because it is defective, the defense attorney and/or insurance companies may claim that you were not wearing the safety belt. This will affect your insurance claim and compensation greatly due to the perceived negligence. If this is a possibility, do not forget to let us know by contacting an experienced car accident attorney. We will help you protect your rights.
How To Detect A Safety Belt Failure
Honestly, safety belt failure detection is not as straightforward as one may think. Seat belt effectiveness should be evaluated based on the extent of injuries and specific accidents. Because of past experiences and cases, below are few signs you may have a seat belt problem:
- Front seat occupant making contact with the windscreen
- Serious injuries in a minor accident
- Safety belt showing signs of worn or ripped webbing
- A vehicle occupant that is not wearing a seat belt but swears they were before the accident
- A person found with a loose-fitting belt after an accident
- Inconsistency in the severity of the injuries from a person wearing a seat belt. Example, one person walking away with minor cuts and bruises whereas the others have major injuries
Who Is Liable In A Safety Belt Defective Lawsuit?
If a person is injured because of a defective safety belt, both the vehicle and product manufacturer could be at fault. Do not forget the function of a seat belt is to protect the occupants of the vehicle. However, sometimes these products do not function as planned, even though designers make them function a certain way.
Nonetheless, these products are tested by the vehicle manufacturer and product creator. The aim is to ensure each product follows specific safety standards. Sometimes, even though the product passes all tests, the standards may change. Sometimes defect occurs in the manufacturing of the product. There are times when vehicle manufacturing companies are slow to adopt new safety belt technology, which may cause modern vehicles to have improper safety belt systems.
The Damages That Can Be Claimed In A Safety Belt Failure Lawsuit
If a person is involved in a vehicle accident, and the injuries are due to safety belt failure, proper investigation is often conducted to identify the manufacturing or design defect. In other words, professionals will investigate to determine the likely cause of the injuries. A person who has been harmed by a defective safety belt may receive compensation or/and punitive damages.
Damage compensations cover things such as lost wages, medical care, disability, and the suffering one has gone through. Punitive damages are given to victims as a way to punish the companies for wrongdoing. The amount is often huge, which discourages manufacturers from releasing or installing defective products, or ignoring primary safety issues and testing.
Contact a Defective Seat Belt Lawyer at the Willis Law Firm today
You have the right to file for compensation or financial claim if either you or your loved one has been injured due to defective safety belts. After an accident, a majority of law enforcement fail to check if the seat belt was defective. As such, you will need the services of an accident reconstruction expert with the experience and ability to reveal the truth.
We have helped many people receive the compensation they deserve. Allow our professional safety belt and auto defect lawyer the opportunity to protect your rights. Schedule a free consultation today with no obligations. You can contact us at (713) 529-9377.