Seat Belt or Occupant Restraint System Failure Lawsuits
One of the main safety features in a vehicle is the seat belt or occupant restraint system. The effectiveness of seat belts to minimize injuries during an auto accident are well-documented, which is why most states have a seat belt law in place. However, auto restraint systems only protect vehicle occupants during crashes when they work correctly. Defects or design flaws can render them useless and leave drivers and passengers at risk for serious injuries.
There are many different issues that can occur if a seat belt is defective or designed incorrectly. It could release at impact, allowing the occupant to fly forward or be ejected from the vehicle. Even if the latch holds, if the shoulder belt does not lock, it can allow the torso and head to fly forward, causing head, neck or spine injures. Poor designs can allow the seat belt to detach at the anchor points, or rip during the accident.
Signs of Seat Belt Failure
All vehicles are required by law to have functional, safe seat belts. Drivers and passengers should feel safer knowing that by wearing a seat belt, they greatly reduce their risk of an injury during an accident. However, when injuries do occur during an accident, it is not always immediately obvious that seat belt failure is to blame. Some signs that a seat belt may have malfunctioned during an accident include:
- Rips in the belt or evidence that the anchors pulled loose
- Restraint or belt is loose after the accident, evidence of slack during the impact
- If one occupant is severely injured and another is not, yet both were wearing seatbelts
- Head impact injuries
- Occupant is found without a seat belt on, yet insists they were wearing a belt before the crash
- Serious injuries in a minor or moderate crash or accident
It is important to recognize these signs of seat belt failure when an accident injury has occurred. If a defect or design flaw is the reason the seat belt failed to protect an occupant in a vehicle during an accident, the manufacturer may be held liable to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other monetary damages to the victim. If you believe you or a family member was injured due to seat belt or a restraint system failure, contact us at Conley Griggs Partin LLP to discuss your case during a free consultation.