Philadelphia Seat Belt Defect Lawyer
Statistics have shown time again that seat belts save lives. However, when these devices are poorly designed or defective they may cause catastrophic injuries. In the event of an accident, it is possible for a faulty seat belt to unlatch from the clasp. Testing has shown high forces of an accident may cause a latch to release, even though the individual has properly secured himself or herself into the seat prior to the accident. Sometimes, a police officer may note contrary to this proper safety protocol causing many surviving victims to insist that he or she was securely belted, but fell victim to the defects of the product.
Did you know that it has only been since the 70’s that the federal government required that all states make laws which require the use of seat belts? States were forced into making laws requiring mandatory use of seat belts, lest they lose their funding for other state projects from the federal government. The government, through the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), made regulations which the states had to adopt. The reason they were pressured to adopt these regulations was because seat belt use saves lives.
If you were alive when this change took effect, it would have seemed as though it happened overnight. The American car manufacturers immediately made changes to their vehicles to accommodate the laws. In 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 which were loose, and which would therefore frequently become twisted. Even after you fastened your belt, these belts would introduce slack in order to make the occupant feel as though they were not even wearing the belt. On the other hand, many European companies like Mercedes and BMW were fitting their cars with belts which were snug and tight, and had devices on them to make sure that they were continuously snug around the occupant. Both the loose and the tight produced seatbelt systems 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 which it was not supposed to strike, usually causing death, or else horrific injuries. The European belts were too tight, and had no play in them at all, which would also lead to injuries in the event of a frontal or offset frontal crash.
If you or a loved one were involved in a Car Accident in which you suspect that the seatbelt did not do its job properly, call our office for a free consultation. At The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C., 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 reality 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 is expected to not blow up, roll over, or behave in a manner that it should not. Providing secure seatbelts falls within this duty to make a crashworthy car. So if there is a collision, the belt ought to provide reasonable protection, and should perform the right way. To say that the belt is defective is to say that the car in which belt is being used is not crashworthy.
In order to determine whether the seat belt is defective or not, or to see whether you have a true crashworthy case, you must take the following steps once you or a loved one is involved in a car accident:
- Preserve the car. Failure to do this can ruin the case. 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 vehicles themselves, we can tell how fast the driver was going (this is especially important if it was a single vehicle crash, such as hitting a deer or telephone pole).
At The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C., we know how to preserve the evidence, and conduct an investigation which will allow for experts to determine whether you car was truly crashworthy – and whether the belt complained of was indeed defective. As always, the consultation is free, and, if necessary, we will come to you, depending on your injuries and ability to be mobile.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.