Product Liability Claims Attorneys
Seat belts are intended to minimize injuries and save lives. In most states, we are required by law to wear them. However, when a seat belt is poorly designed or malfunctions, the injuries it causes can be worse than wearing no seat belt at all, even deadly.
Seat belts buckles, which have the latch located on the front of the buckle, can come unlatched due to impact to the back of the buckle. A crash with low force can create a strong enough impact to cause this malfunction. Although manufacturers have denied that this malfunction can occur, crash tests conducted by General Motors have proven that this defect is real.
It takes very little slack in a seat belt to cause serious injuries. The retractor is the part of the seat belt that locks during an accident, preventing the belt from feeding out and holding it snugly in place. If the retractor fails, the belt can feed out creating slack.
“Window Shade” Device
The window shade device allows you to create slack in your seat belt, so you can move around and adjust in your seat. After getting comfortable, giving a tug on the strap causes it to retract and become snug again. However, most people do not know that they need to give this tug and tighten the belt in order to be protected, so the slack remains in the belt allowing serious or deadly injuries.
The automatic shoulder strap presents many dangers. It is designed to force occupants to wear their seat belt, but since only the shoulder strap is automatic, many passengers wind up wearing the shoulder strap with no lap belt. This means that all of the force of the accident goes to the neck or head, causing neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and even death. Door mounted automatic belts can cause ejection from the vehicle if the door comes open during a crash.
Protruding Release Button
About 14 million Chrysler vehicles were released with Generation Three (Gen 3) buckles from 1993 to 2002. These buckles have a release button which protrudes in a way that makes it very easy to accidentally unlatch, even by lightly bumping the buckle.
Seat Belt Injuries
Seat belt defects and malfunctions can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Injuries commonly caused by seat belts include:
- Severe abdominal injuries
- Fractures of the lumbar spine
- Brain injury
- Facial injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones and fractures
After a car accident involving a seat belt malfunction, it can appear as if you were not wearing a seat belt at all. This is especially common when the seat belt unlatches during the accident. In accidents where there is excessive slack, you may still be wearing the seat belt, but have injuries inconsistent with proper seat belt use.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, due to a seat belt defect or malfunction, contact an experienced defective seat belt injury attorney today.