Products Liability Defective Seat Belts
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, they can become the source of injury or death when defective and improperly functioning.
Defective Design and Manufacturing
Wearing a seatbelt 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 Seatbelt Malfunctions
While any seatbelt issue can prove deadly, its most common automotive component part malfunctions are:
When a seatbelt 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.
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.
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.
A seatbelt 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 lose, seat belts are unable to perform in the event of an accident.
Texas 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. Contact us today to take the first step in receiving just and fair compensation for your injuries.