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Defective Seat Belts
When it comes to safety on the road, seatbelts are the first step to protecting yourself and passengers in the event of an accident. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts were responsible for saving an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.
John T. Flood is a lawyer in Texas who focuses on defective seatbelt cases. Call (361) 654-8877 to get compensation for your injury caused by a faulty seat belt.

In addition to providing protection in the event of an accident, seat belts can also aid in protection against other vehicle safety features such as airbags; when vehicle occupants are not wearing seat belts, airbags can injure or kill them due to the rate of acceleration and impact from deployment. While the intended purpose of seat belts is to protect a vehicle’s passengers, a defective seat belt can become the source of injury or death when it improperly functions.

Defective Design and Manufacturing

Wearing a seat belt is not only common sense; it’s the law. As a society, we have been conditioned to trust seat belts; and, in fact NHTSA recommends buckling up as the most effective way to protect yourself in the event of an accident. As the primary source of protection in motor vehicle travel, seat belt failures can injure or kill unsuspecting drivers and passengers.

Drivers and passengers assume automakers sufficiently tested seat belts to ensure efficacy; however, NHTSA data suggests otherwise. NHTSA estimates three million people are injured every year by seat belt failure, and an estimated 40,000 lose their lives annually due to defective seat belts. Depending on the type of motor vehicle accident, such as a rollover, seat belt failure can be especially dangerous and even fatal.

Common Seat Belt Malfunctions

While any seat belt issue can prove deadly, its most common automotive component part malfunctions are:

False Latching

When a seat belt fails to properly lock and hold the buckle securely to its latch, this can result in it unlocking and no longer securely holding a passenger.

Retraction Failure

In the event of an accident, seat belts are designed to retract extra slack and lock, securely holding a passenger in place. Should the retraction method fail, the passenger is no longer held or protected by a seat belt and could thus be ejected.

Webbing/Material Defects

Seat belts are made with reinforced material fibers so they can withstand strong forces. When the material is improperly designed and/or constructed and begins to unravel, the seatbelt becomes less effective.

Defective Mounts

A seat belt can be made of proper material and have a correctly functioning latching system but still fail to keep a passenger safe due to inadequate mounting systems. A seat belt mount secures the seat belt to the car, reinforcing its ability to secure the driver to their seat. When mounting systems fail and become loose, seat belts are unable to perform in the event of an accident.

Texas Defective Seat Belt Injury Lawyer

Automakers have a duty to design and manufacture motor vehicle safety features that work. Preventable deaths and serious injury occur every year due to automakers’ failure to take responsibility for defective products. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed because a seat belt failed to function as intended, you may be entitled to financial compensation. John Flood fights for clients who have been betrayed by their vehicle’s safety features.

Were you injured by a defective seatbelt in Texas? Call attorney John Flood at (361) 654-8877 today for a free initial case evaluation.


Frequently Asked Questions About Defective Seat Belts

How do I know if my seat belt is defective?

Unfortunately, you may not know that your seat belt is defective until you are in a car accident. Your seat belt may work properly until the force of an impact causes it to fail. However, if you notice any issues with your seat belt, you should contact your vehicle manufacturer and/or the dealership where you purchased your vehicle.

What are common examples of seat belt defects?

Possible seat belt defects include:

  • False latching. The seat belt may appear to be latched but isn’t.
  • Inertial unlatching. The seat belt unlatches when met with force (such as in an accident).
  • Faulty retractor. The seat belt retractor fails to lock on impact, providing too much slack.
  • Material defect. The material the seat belt is made from may unravel or tear.
  • Defective mount. The seat belt may disconnect from where it is mounted to the vehicle.

What types of injuries result from defective seat belts?

Injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, spine, and extremities may occur due to a defective seat belt. Whiplash, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, contusions, lacerations, and broken bones can all result from a defective seat belt failing in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Some injuries may even be fatal.

Who is liable for defective seat belt injuries?

In accidents where injuries occurred due to a defective seat belt, the vehicle manufacturer is typically liable. The problem may exist with the design, the manufacture, or even the installation of the seat belt. Even if someone else is responsible for the accident itself, the damages caused by the seat belt malfunction are the responsibility of the automaker.

How much is a defective seat belt case worth?

There is no way to know for sure how much your case is worth until you discuss it with a lawyer. The amount of compensation you may be rewarded depends on the extent of your injuries and the financial burden of the medical costs resulting from the incident, as well as lost income and other hardships.

What should I do if I was injured by a defective seat belt?

If you were involved in an accident and your seat belt malfunctioned in some way that resulted in injuries, you should first seek necessary medical attention. Then, when you are able, contact an experienced products liability lawyer. John Flood Trial Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

 

 

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