How can we help after a car accident where the seat belt was defective?
We'll analyze the circumstances of your car accident and determine if the seat belt was defective, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries.
Sean M. Cleary
Over 23K drivers and passengers were killed in Florida due to car accidents. Studies suggest that 50% of them were not properly restrained and protected by a seat belt in the car accident that took their lives. Seat belts play a major role in the safety of drivers and their passengers, preventing over 2K deaths per year in Florida. Although due to defective design seat belts don’t always function properly and cause serious, or even fatal, injuries. Many seat belts have been the subject of consumer product safety recalls.
What types of injuries are caused by defective seat belts?
Because of the configuration of a standard seat belt, most seat belt injuries are limited to the head, neck, torso, arms, pelvis, and thighs. When a seat belt fails to function properly in a car accident, injuries might include:
Seat belt failure in a serious car accident can be fatal. The injuries caused by seat belt malfunctions are serious and are worthy of financial compensation. If you were involved in a car accident and the seat belt caused you injuries or made them significantly worse, speak to our product liability lawyer and get compensation for your injuries and medical bills.
Numerous seat belt recalls have been issued by auto manufacturers such as GM, Honda, Ford, Toyota and many more. A seat belt recall may happen due to mistakes in the design and manufacturing of seat belts, mistakes for which the car manufacturers are responsible. Unfortunately for consumers, seat belt recalls often happen too late, with many having suffered severe injuries and death before the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration realizes that something is wrong.
The latest car models recalled due to seat belt issues include, but are not limited to, are the following:
American Honda Motor Co. recalled 3,9K model year 2018 Honda Odyssey vehicles.
Ford Motor Company recalled 94,6K model year 2014 Ford F-150s and E-350s, model year 2014-2015 Ford Escapes, and model year 2015 Lincoln MKCs.
General Motors recalled 40,6K model year 2014-2016 Buick Lacrosse and Chevrolet Spark EV, Caprice PPV and SS vehicles, model year 2014-2017 Buick Encore and Chevrolet Corvette, Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 vehicles, Model year 2015-2016 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Tahoe, Trax, Suburban and Silverado 2500 and 3500 and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles, and model year 2015-2017 GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 vehicles.
Hyundai Motor America recalled 17,1K model year 2017 Santa Fe Sport vehicles.
Liability for defective seat belts in a car accident
When a seat belt fails due to either design or manufacture flaws and people get injured or killed, the seat belt defect can be seen as a legal cause of the injuries or death. In this case, any of the parties along the production and distribution channel, starting with the manufacturer, can be held liable.
The following facts might indicate a seat belt problem and could be a good reason to hire a lawyer:
Serious injuries to belted occupants
The seat belt is loose from its anchors
A seat belt is torn after an accident
An injured passenger is found wearing a loose-fitting seat belt
Severe injuries in a minor to moderate collision
An occupant is found unbelted and claims he or she was initially buckled up
In a frontal collision, one of the passengers inside the car makes contact with the windshield
An injured passenger is thrown from the vehicle after initially he/she buckled up
Injury to a person who was wearing a safety belt when there is not much damage to the car itself
Evidence that a seat belt failed because of its defects is sometimes subtle and can be difficult to detect. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we help people after they were severely hurt in car accidents and we look at every aspect of the collision and components of the car.
Seat belts are some of the most important safety features protecting occupants during car accidents. Due to their enormous significance, the design and assembly of seat belts are strictly regulated by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 209 and 210, Seat Belt Assemblies and Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages, respectively.
These regulations create a responsibility for auto manufacturers to produce vehicles equipped with adequate seat belts that provide effective protection at the time of accidents. Consequently, if manufacturers fail to meet this responsibility, they can be held liable for injuries and other damages suffered by the occupants of defective motor vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, yearly, almost 50.4% of people killed in automobile accidents in Florida was not wearing a seatbelt. The "Florida Safety Belt Law" applies to any car, pickup truck, and van operated on Florida roads and manufactured after 1968, and states the following:
All front seat passengers must wear seatbelts.
All passengers under 18 years old must wear a seat belt or be restrained by a child car seat.
It's against the law to operate a vehicle if all the passengers do not meet these standards. A seat belt violation for an adult is $30, and for a child who is not properly restrained, the violation costs $60. Children should always be placed in the back seat because it offers more protection in case of a car crash, and also avoids dangers associated with front-seat airbags. The driver is responsible for buckling up the child. The law exempts the following from the car seat belt requirements:
Any person qualified for a medical exemption
School buses and other similar bus transport services
Employees of a newspaper delivery company while delivering newspapers on home delivery routes
How can we help after a car accident where a seat belt failed to protect and caused injuries?
Sean Cleary, our experienced lawyer will inspect the seat belt and car and identify the liable auto or seat belt manufacturer and pursue your injury claim for compensation. We are ready to help you by:
Standing up against the seat belt manufacturer, distributor, retailer
Protecting your rights
Helping you understand the medical bills and paperwork following your car accident
Gathering all the evidence and necessary details to prove a defective seat belt case
We will file the claim on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to court if liable parties refuse to settle. Regardless of the company you're facing, we won't accept anything less than what you need to move on with your life.
Why Wear Seat Belts if the Car is Equipped with Airbags? »
Seat belts and airbags are interrelated: an airbag without a seat belt can cause serious injury and even death. So, you have to use a seat belt to avoid serious injury. Moreover, according to seat belt legislation, wearing seat belts at all times is mandatory.
Is it Safer Not to Wear the Seat Belt in Certain Circumstances? »
No, it is not safer to not wear the seat belt because seat belts can prevent injury during impact, and thus increase your chances of remaining conscious and being able to escape your vehicle in case of danger. Seat belts are still the best way to ensure you are not severely hurt in case of an accident.