Seat Belt Malfunctions – Lawyer in Houston, Texas

seat belt malfunctions

Seatbelts have been a requirement in cars since the late 60’s. They’ve saved numerous lives since that time, but they have cost lives, too. Malfunctions and failures have resulted in injuries and death in many crashes, leaving victims of such defects needing experienced representation. Since the mid 90’s alone, over 1,000 recalls have been made by American Automobile Manufacturers. We rely on seat belts for protection and safety, but instances of failure have occurred for a variety of reasons, resulting in serious injury or even death. Contact a seat belt malfunction lawyer at (832) 463-1003.

Seat Belt History

Seat Belts became mandatory in 1968. Statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that over 200,000 lives were saved between then and 2006. They are vital to American’s protection, but what exactly constitutes a seat belt? Also known as a “safety belt”, it was originally designed to restrain the driver or passenger along the waist; but, most of the lifespan has been to restrain the upper portion of the body as well, known as “two-point” seatbelts). Rapid or sudden stops (like in a collision), the seat belt is designed to decrease the likelihood of being thrown from a vehicle, ejected during roll over crashes, or striking a part of the vehicle’s interior surfaces or other passengers. Those not wearing seat belts risk serious injury or death when deciding to forgo the safety measure.

The use of seat belts dates back well before the 60’s, but the National Highway Safety Bureau mandated their installation and they became a requirement for American-made vehicles. By 1984, a law was then passed requiring drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts or be issued fines (the first law being passed in New York). An estimated 75% of Americans now regularly wear seatbelts, but a large number still do not.

Seat Belt Flaws and Defects

Design flaws, not display of instructions or warning labels as needed, or assembly errors at the manufacturer can cause many seat belt defects. One specific is known as “false latching”, where the operator of the device believes the seat belt to be secured or buckled properly, but it isn’t. Latches fail or buckles do not function properly, leaving the appearance that they are latched, but the mechanism fails. Another is known as “inertial unlatching”, when the force of the collision causes the wearer to push against the restraint, unlatching the seat belt. This is especially problematic during rollover accidents. Some specific locations in the vehicles may also not provide adequate coverage, leaving some passengers without shoulder belts or lap belts (mostly in middle or rear seats). “Retractors”, a mechanism that restrains or releases the belt, can fail simply by supplying too much slack or give in the lap and/or shoulders. A few inches of slack could be enough to cause serious injury, or even death. Those issues, along with seat belts being torn or ripped in the webbing can mean potential failure during a life-threatening situation. Flawed anchors or pretensioners and passive restraint systems (like door-mounted seat belts) are common seat belt defects. Some of these faults made by the automakers and manufacturers can lead to utter failure of the seat belt during a traffic accident.

Injuries caused by seat belts

Using a malfunctioning seat belt can have serious effects such as injury to the head, chest, spine, pelvis, or even the brain. Outer extremities, such as the legs and arms, can also be fractured or broken. Seat belt defects can deal whiplash, internal bleeding, or injures to the internal organs and nerves.

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Numerous seat belt recalls have been made due to mistakes in the design and manufacturing by large branded automakers like Toyota, Ford, and GM. Those recalls are due to the mistakes made by the automakers, making them responsible. These mistakes lead to seat belt recalls, but for many, the recall of defective seat belts can come too late.

If you suffered injury due to a defective or flawed seat belt, you have legal right to compensation claims for your losses. Our lawyers can assist you with your seat belt defect lawsuit, helping you get the maximum coverage for your financial need. Failure to pay for medical bills, loss of salary, as well as pain and suffering from a defective seat belt injury are things that an experienced lawyer can help you avoid. You deserve to claim financial recovery from your defective seat belt injury. Fight for your rights and call a defective seat belt lawyer to assist you in getting the justice you deserve.