Zevan Davidson Roman Law Firm Articles Car Accident Injuries Caused by Seat Belts

Car Accident Injuries Caused by Seat Belts

By David Zevan  May. 27, 2015 11:36a

Seat belts save lives; however, there are situations when a malfunctioning seat belt has resulted in an injury.

Seat belts are provided in motor vehicles for the safety of the driver and occupants. Statistics show that in most car accidents, seat belts save lives. There are, however, situations where a seat belt has also resulted in an injury. The injuries, in most cases, have been minor which can be expected in a serious collision; however, there are some cases when the injuries caused by seat belts have been quite serious.

Seat Belt Injuries

In a car accident, the car comes to a sudden stop and the seat belt is supposed to restrain the driver and the passengers who are still moving. The seat belt, therefore, prevents severe injuries which can happen if the driver or the passenger hits the dash board if not properly restrained. A seat belt injury can occur due to the severity of the accident, improper placement of the seat belt on the body, an extremely tight restraint, malfunction of the seat belt mechanism, or a manufacturer defect.

Common seat belt injuries are bruises and scrapes due to the restraint and the extent of injury depends on the severity of the crash. Internal injuries in the abdomen area and the spinal cord may be caused by lap belts. Shoulder belts may be responsible for injuries in the shoulder region, neck, and sternum. There are serious injuries such as fractures, joint dislocations, injuries to the spinal cord, hemorrhage, and intestinal injuries which may be caused or aggravated by seat belts.

Safety Advisory

Correctly worn seat belts save lives, whereas, incorrectly worn ones can lead to injuries. The National Highway and Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory for the correct wearing of seat belts.

  • The correct place for a shoulder belt is right across the middle of the chest and it should always be kept away from the neck.
  • The positioning of a lap belt should be below the stomach and should be firmly tightened across the hips.
  • The shoulder strap of the seat belt should never be placed behind the back or under the arm.
  • Correct tightness of the belt is essential. A belt should neither be too tight to cause discomfort nor be too loose to allow free movement of the passenger.

Most seatbelt injuries are caused due to a defective seat belt mechanism. Defective latches can cause a belt to detach and defective tension detectors can fail to remove slack from the belt. A malfunctioning belt, therefore, will not provide adequate protection and can cause injuries. This malfunction can be attributable to a design flaw and injured drivers and passengers may pursue a liability claim. There may be a number of parties against which the liability claim is applicable, namely the manufacturer, retailer, supplier, or distributer of the seat belt system or the automobile.

Product Liability Claim

The process of a product liability claim involves proving a defect in the seat belt mechanism and establishing liability and can be quite complex. If you have been involved in a car accident and the injuries sustained were caused by a malfunctioning seat belt mechanism, seek legal help from a St. Louis personal injury attorney to guide you through the case and ensure that your rights are protected. Call the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at(314) 588-7200 for a free consultation.

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