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Steven M. Lee, PC

Defective Seat Belts and Their Threat to Your Family’s Safety


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2/8/2016
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Seatbelts have been a safety staple in automobiles for over 50 years. In that time, they have succeeded in saving countless lives and protecting millions of drivers and passengers alike from horrendous injuries. While they were the first real car safety feature, there is no doubt that driver and passenger safety belts continue to be one of the most effective. However, in order for them to work, they have to be used properly and they must be designed, manufactured, and installed correctly.

Using Seatbelt Effectively

In order to secure a passenger, a seat belt must:

  • Be worn properly. The lap restraint needs to be placed over the hip bones and the chest strap must lay across the collarbone.
  • Be properly fastened. In order to withstand accident forces, the belt buckle must be completely clicked in and secured in its lock.
  • Be secure. The strength and security of a belt must be rigorously tested in order to pass safety standards.

Unfortunately, defective seat belts are not all that uncommon, producing the illusion of safety without the actual benefits of being secure.

Seatbelt Defects

Seatbelts are supposed to keep you tightly strapped in to prevent impact and ejection injuries. However, if the belt fails when you need it most, the consequences can be serious for you and everyone else involved. Without the belt to restrain you, you could be thrown around inside the car from the force of an impact. Or, perhaps even worse, you could be ejected from the vehicle altogether.

There are several reasons your seat belt could fail during an accident, including:

  • Weak fabric. The seatbelt material needs to be able to withstand pressures exceeding 300 pounds per inch. If the fabric is weak in any way, it can tear leaving the wearer without protection.  
  • A defective buckle or poor connections. In order for the belt to be secure, all connections need to be tight and working correctly. If a connection is loose or the buckle isn’t holding the connector, the restraint is useless.
  • A faulty feeding mechanism. Most seat belts retract into the seat to prevent clutter. If the feeding mechanisms fail to release the belt, the wearer may not be able to buckle. On the other hand, if the feeding mechanism fails to tighten during an accident, the belt will slacken and prevent adequate restraint.

Who’s to Blame for a Faulty Safety Belt

If you were involved in a collision and were injured because of a defective seat belt, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries from the vehicle’s manufacturer or seller.

For more information about how to proceed with filing a defective safety restraint claim, speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. We’ll be happy to discuss your options and plan a strategy to get you the compensation you deserve.



Category: Car Accidents and DWI Accidents

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Steven M. Lee
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