As modern consumers, we have come to expect certain safety features to be standard in vehicles. Most people would think twice about ever buying a vehicle that did not come equipped with seat belts, air bags, head restraints, antilock brakes, or a traction control system. So some might wonder why these safety features are so important, but the answer is actually quite simple. Countless safety tests haven proven that cars equipped with these common features save lives by improving the likelihood that drivers and passengers will survive serious auto accidents. The problem is what happens when the safety features you have come to rely on fail you in your moment of need.
Why Do Seat Belts Matter?
Today people expect seatbelts to keep them inside their seat and prevent collision with the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield in the event of an accident.1 Those expectations did not exist a few decades back in America’s transportation history. Sixty years ago seat belts were just emerging as an optional feature in Volvo, Ford, and Chrysler automobiles.2 It was not until the 1970s that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard began to even propose restraint systems as an auto industry requirement.3 Fast-forward to the year 2015 and state statues make seatbelts mandatory. Seatbelts matter because statistics prove that drivers and passengers who wear seatbelts are saved from serious accidents. According t0 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, annually more than 15,000 lives are saved by vehicle occupants who buckle-up.4 There are several ways in which a seatbelt saves the life of the person who straps in. A seatbelt keeps an occupant inside a vehicle and those that are ejected from the car are four times more likely to be killed.5 The design of both a two point lap belt or a three point belt when worn properly restrains the strongest part of the body, the hips and shoulders, while spreading out the collisions force over a wider area to prevent serious injury to any one part of the body.6 The seatbelt helps the body slow down during the course of a crash while securing the brain and spinal cord from injury.7 Therefore, not only is important to wear a seatbelt, but the seatbelt must be worn properly and function correctly.
What Happens When a Seatbelt Malfunctions?
Seatbelts can malfunction due to design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings which may affect liability and compensation during personal injury or product liability cases. A seatbelt failure can cause injuries similar to what an unrestrained occupant endures during an accident such as upper and lower body fractures, spinal injuries, head injuries, abdominal injuries to internal organs, and in some cases death. There are several hidden defects that can cause a driver or passenger to sustain additional injuries in the course of an auto accident due to wearing a faulty seatbelt. As some recalls have addressed, seat belts can unlatch during a collision, seat belts may not lock in a crash as they detach from the vehicle, false latching may occur to cause occupants to believe the seatbelt is secure when it is not, tearing or ripping of the belt during impact due to use of defective materials, and design flaws to the anchor position may cause seat belts to not be properly bolted to the car.8
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you were in an auto accident and your seatbelt failed resulting in an unnecessary injury, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your collision with an attorney experienced in handling both product liability and personal injury claims. An experienced attorney can help to determine what claims should be filed and protect your legal rights and interests. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.
LET US GET STARTED ON YOUR ST. LOUIS CAR ACCIDENT CASE TODAY
If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.
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