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Seat Belt Defect

Seat Belt Defect Lawyer Philadelphia

Did you know that it was only since the 70's that the federal government required that all states make laws requiring the use of seat belts? States were forced into making laws requiring mandatory use of seat belts or they would lose their funding for other state projects from the federal government. The Government, through the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), made regulations that the states had to adopt. The reason why they were forced to adopt them was because seat belt use saves lives. So if you were alive back when this change took effect, it would have seemed like it happened overnight.

The American car manufacturers immediately made changes to their vehicles to accommodate the laws. Under the American manufacturers view, people would only begin to wear seatbelts if those belts were comfortable to use by the consumer. This emphasis on comfort gave birth to seat belts that were loose, would always become twisted and even after you fastened your belt, they would introduce slack in order to make the occupant feel as though they weren't even wearing the belt. On the other hand, many European companies like Mercedes and BMW were fitting their cars with belts that were snug and tight and had devises on them to make sure that they were continuously snug around the occupant. Both schools of thought - loose versus tight produced seatbelt systems that were riddled with defects. On the American side, the belts operated like a window shade so that any odd movement by the user would inadvertently add slack into the belt so that when a significant frontal or offset frontal crash would occur, the occupant's head would strike parts of the interior of the car that it was not supposed to strike, causing horrific injuries but usually death. The European belts were too tight and had no play in them at all which would also cause injuries in the event of a frontal or offset frontal crash.

If you or a loved one were involved in a Car Accident where you suspect that the seatbelt did not do its job, then call our office for a free consultation. At the law offices of Greg Prosmushkin, PC, our lawyers and staff can assist you in making a claim against the manufacturer of the seat belt.

A car is an expensive undertaking and this is recognized by the law. The law provides that a car must be "crashworthy". What does this mean? It means that a car should be able to keep you safe under reasonably foreseeable conditions or events. This means that if you driving the car at 35 mph, the car should not blow up, roll over, or behave in a manner that it should not. Seatbelts come within this duty to make a Crashworthy car. So if there is a collision, the belt should provide reasonable protection and should perform the right way. To say that the belt is defective is to say that the car that the belt is being used is not crashworthy.

In order to determine whether the seat belt is defective or not, or to see if you have a true crashworthy case, you need to do the following once you or a loved one is involved in a Car Accident:

  • Preserve the car - failure to do this can ruin the case because we must see and examine the belt in the car.

  • Preserve the belt - the product within the car (which is a product itself) must be preserved by the party that had control of it when the incident occurred or else you will be charged with spoliation of evidence. If you spoil the evidence, the case will be dismissed with exceptions.

  • Go to the scene of the incident and collect evidence of speed - this means collection of skidmark photographs and debris left behind

  • Preserve any type of on board recording system - these days, with computer systems built right into the vehicle itself, we can tell how fast the driver was going (this is especially important if it was a single vehicle crash like hitting a deer or telephone pole).

At the law offices of Greg Prosmushkin, PC, we know how to preserve the evidence and conduct an investigation that will allow for experts to truly determine whether you car was crashworthy - whether the belt complained of was defective. As always, the consultation is free and if need be, we will come to you depending on your injuries and ability to be mobile.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.

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