Seatbelts have been required in automobiles in the U.S. since 1968; however, wearing them has only been mandatory since 1983 for front seat occupants of all ages. In 1989, back seat seatbelts became mandatory for all passengers aged 14 and under. The CDC reports that seat belt use reduces serious crash related injuries and deaths by approximately one half. Ninety percent of Americans trust their seat belts to protect them; unfortunately, sometimes seat belts fail. The seat belt failure attorneys at Potts Law Firm are experts in seeking legal compensation for injuries resulting from faulty seat belts.
Ways Seatbelts Fail
There are many reasons for seat belt failure such as improper operation, and normal wear and tear from age and repeated use, but they can also fail because of manufacturing defects. In May of 2015, GM recalled over 460,000 Malibu’s because the steel cable that attaches the seat belt to the vehicle frame can fatigue and separate causing the belt to not work. In 2015 additional recalls were issued by Hyundai for defective buckling mechanisms, Ford for improperly tightened seat belt fasteners and other models for a variety of seatbelt defects. The recent Takata airbag recall also involves defects in seat belt pretensioners, the mechanism that causes the lap portion of the belt to engage. Manufacturing defects or improperly functioning seat belts could cause serious injury or even death in a crash situation.
Consequences of Seatbelt Failure
According to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), failure to use seatbelts resulted in 49% of all vehicle fatalities in 2013. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death in a crash by 45% and reduces the risk of moderate to severe injury by 50%. The consequences of a malfunctioning or defective seatbelt can be severe and include the following:
- Head injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Chest injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Upper extremity fractures
- Lower extremity fractures
Vehicle occupants trust that safety restraints will protect them in the event of an automobile crash, so it only makes sense that the manufacturers should also face consequences when that trust is broken by defective seat belts. Individuals who have been injured or suffered a loss as a result of seatbelt failure could be eligible for compensation from the vehicle and parts manufacturers. Potts Law Firm has experienced seatbelt failure attorneys dedicated to providing quality representation in personal injury cases. Our team of lawyers works tirelessly to ensure manufacturers honor consumer trust by accepting liability for defective equipment. If you or someone you know is a victim of injuries caused by defective seat belt restraints contact us today.