Seat belts are designed to save lives but defects in the manufacturing process or faulty materials can do more harm than good. In a motor vehicle collision, a seat belt is designed to be the primary method of holding a driver or passengers in place to prevent serious injury. It is not uncommon, however, for seat belts to fail.
Serious injuries or death can result from several design or mechanism failures, including:
- Buckles that unlatch as a result of the inertia in a rollover accident
- Shoulder belts that allow too much slack, and do not restrain the passenger
- Door-mounted seat belts that cause further injury when a door opens during an accident
- Shoulder belts that slide up and cause strangulations or severe neck injuries
When an automobile accident occurs with enough force, it is possible for drivers and passengers to be ejected from the vehicle. A report by the Naval Safety Center established that of the individuals who were ejected from a vehicle, 73 percent were killed. The report also noted that in a severe collision, only 1 percent of the passengers who were properly restrained by a functioning seat belt were ejected.
Bridgeport Product Liability Lawyers
At Tooher Wocl & Leydon, LLC, our seat belt failure attorneys in Stamford have extensive experience guiding clients through an array of personal injury lawsuits. We can negotiate with the at-fault party's insurance carrier on our client's behalf to ensure a fair and just settlement is reached. If a proper settlement is not forthcoming, we will go to trial.
In seat belt design and manufacture, durability is the main key. This can include the material used and the construction method. In greater detail, the main failures can include:
- Inertial unlatching: The release mechanism on the seat belt might be released if enough pressure is put on the back of the latch. This is common in vehicle rollover accidents. Pressure can be applied by the weight of the passenger or from a part of the seat that has come loose.
- Excessive slack: The seat belt is designed to allow for the comfort of the occupant during normal driving conditions. Heavy braking or vehicle impact forces the retraction of the belt to protect the individual from further harm. If the internal mechanism of the belt is faulty, the belt will not retract and the passenger might suffer strangulation, spinal cord injuries or ejection.
- False latching: As the name would imply, this defect falsely signals that the belt is securely latched. The belt might click shut, and the seat belt indicator might disappear from the driver's control panel, but the belt is not secure and will not protect an individual in the event of a collision.
Tooher Wocl & Leydon, LLC, offers free consultations in all personal injury cases. For additional information about our experience and approach to client representation in Connecticut seat belt failure cases, contact us at either of our Fairfield County locations.
We represent clients statewide and handle all of our products liability cases on a contingency basis. There are no legal fees to pay unless we win.