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Like many states in this country, California has a mandatory seat belt law that requires all operators of a motor vehicle and all vehicle passengers under the age of 16 to wear a seat belt. Seat belts are designed to save lives and prevent injuries. Unfortunately, many people are injured and even killed each year because their seat belt was defective and did not function the way that it was supposed to.
Seat belts can fail to work properly for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, seat belts fail because the latch is defective and appears to be locked in place when it is not. In order to be effective, the latch must be very secure and able to withstand a tremendous amount of force during a collision.
If the latch does not remain locked and you end up involved in an accident, you could be projected forward and end up seriously hurt. In addition to a faulty latch, seat belts may fail because the belt material is weak, is unable to withstand the shock of impact, and tears. This would provide no protection in the event of a collision.
If the seat belt retractor does not function properly and allows the person to fly forward rather than restraining them, serious injuries could result. Call our California defective seat belt injury lawyers today for a FREE case review!
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In some cases, the injuries caused by defective seat belts can be very serious. A defective passive restraint seat belt can cause strangulation or a lacerated liver if the lap belt is not fastened properly and the body is thrown forward during a collision. Both strangulation and a lacerated liver can be deadly. Strangulation could result in brain damage or even death, while an injured liver can lead to a lifetime of complications and limitations. Other injuries that may occur when a seat belt does not work properly include a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, loss of a limb, and even paralysis. If a seat belt malfunctions and an accident victim is projected completely out of the car,
the resulting injuries could be fatal.
If you were injured in an accident as a result of a defective seat belt, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney to take on your case. Depending on the nature of your injuries and the type of defect, the lawyer may make the decision to seek legal action against the vehicle manufacturer, the seat belt manufacturer, the products distributor, or a combination of the three. If you have been injured as a result of a faulty seat belt, you have a right to be compensated by anyone who may have been responsible for the seat belt’s defect.
In addition to compensation for the medical expenses that you incur as a result of your injuries, you also have a right to recover any lost wages that may have resulted from not being able to work. Because seat belt-related injuries can be serious, you are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.
Seat belt defects and design flaws are responsible for over 20% of the injuries and deaths caused during vehicle rollovers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 3 million people were injured in the United States because of seat belts that were not working properly in 2002. Additionally, nearly 43,000 people were killed as a result of the injuries that they suffered due to defective seat belts.
A personal injury attorney with a specialization in seat belt injuries will fight for your right to compensation. All too often, insurance companies refuse to pay for all of the medical costs that you have incurred as a result of your injuries for one reason or another. They make excuses to delay payment and will even go so far as to blame you for your injuries. If you want to be compensated after being injured as a result of a defective seat belt, you will need the assistance of a skilled attorney. The state of California imposes a statute of limitations on various types of personal injury claims, including seat belt-related injuries, so it is important that you file your case as quickly as possible.