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Is It True That Seat Belts Can Trap You Inside the Car After an Accident?

No, becoming trapped by a seat belt is a myth. Wearing a seat belt reduces your chances of being killed or injured in a car accident by at least 45% and gives you a much greater chance of remaining conscious and of being able to escape your vehicle in case of danger.

If you fear you can become trapped by a seat belt in an accident, you can purchase seat belt cutters that enable you to cut a jammed seat belt in seconds. You can clip them onto a sun visor or in the driver’s side door so they're accessible in case of emergencies. In general, seat belts are vital in preventing vehicle ejection. They also prevent you from being thrown against other passengers, the steering wheel, or the windshield. But what if your car goes underwater and your seat belt becomes a huge obstacle in getting to safety? Well, NHTSA says that water submersion or fire following a crash is extremely rare. When they do occur, the greatest danger is the actual impact that precedes the fire or the submerged car accident.

The much likelier cause of car fatalities is the force of impact or ejection from the vehicle, and those are the injuries that seat belts are so good at preventing. Getting ejected from a car in an accident drops your chances of surviving by three-quarters.

When Can Seat Belts Cause Injury?

If they are improperly designed or defective, seat belts can cause injury and may even cost lives. A defective seat belt can allow you to be ejected from a vehicle during an accident or hit a windshield, causing catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that last a lifetime.

Seat belt defects include, but are not limited to:

  • False latching
  • Torn seat belts
  • Seat belt slack
  • Lap belts failure
  • Retractor failure
  • Inadequate materials

The negligent parties could be:

  • The designer, if the seat belt was created with design flaws
  • The manufacturer, if it was improperly manufactured
  • A dealership, if the seat belt that failed was repaired by them

Following a car accident where seat belt defects caused you debilitating physical injuries, traumatic emotional pain, and medical bills, the person or entity responsible for the seat belt defect could be held financially liable for your injury-related costs.

Regardless of who is responsible, making a seat belt injury claim can seem quite daunting. When they arrive at the scene, most officers who investigate car accidents tend to conclude that an ejected vehicle occupant was not wearing a seat belt. That's why working with an attorney who has experience in complex defective seat belt claims can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

Many items must be actually analyzed in car crashes with ejection:

  • The injured person needs to be examined for evidence of bruising and marking from the seat belt
  • The seat belt webbing needs to be microscopically examined - by an expert with accident reconstruction experience - for marks or bloodstains that would indicate the seat belt was in use at the time of the accident
  • Internal auto manufacturer documents could show that the automakers knew these failures, but did nothing about them

Ready for a free, confidential car accident consultation? Call us today for legal advice from a skilled Miami-based seat belt injury attorney.

For questions and free legal advice to help individuals please call us

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.