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Burke Law

Defective Seatbelts Can Have Deadly Consequences

By Sean Burke on October 15, 2015

Car with a shattered windshieldDriving is an essential part of most people’s day, so it is best not to focus on the potential dangers of the road. Still, most are aware that an accident could happen at any time, and has the potential to greatly influence the lives of those involved. Auto accidents result in numerous injuries and deaths each year, and they account for significant financial losses. Fortunately, there are measures in place to protect people who are involved in an auto accident. One of these is a seatbelt. Seatbelts have been shown to save lives and decrease the impact of accident injuries, so much so that most states make it a law for drivers and passengers to wear a seatbelt. However, the benefits of a seatbelt can be negated if the product is defective. Auto accidents and defective seatbelts are taken very seriously at our Orange County practice. Clients who have been injured as a result of a defective seatbelt can count on attorney Sean M. Burke for aggressive legal representation.

How Common Are Defective Seatbelts?

Seatbelt defects are actually one of the most common types of vehicular defects. While a seatbelt is meant to reduce injury in the event of a car accident, a defective seatbelt can actually increase injuries. In fact, in some cases, a defective seatbelt is more harmful than no seatbelt at all. Below are some common types of seatbelt defects:

  • Unlatching: One defect that can occur with a seatbelt is unintentional unlatching. This includes cases in which the seatbelt comes undone from the latch and fails to hold the passenger in place. An unlatched seatbelt can cause a passenger to be partially or fully ejected from a vehicle during an accident.
  • Retractor failure: Seatbelts are meant to retract so that they always sit closely against a passenger’s body. Retractor failure can create slack in the seatbelt, which allows the passenger to gain momentum if they experience an impact from an accident. Refractor failure can increase the risk of personal injury.
  • Design defects: Design defects are another common problem. Even if the seatbelt works as it was meant to, design flaws can increase the risk of injuries, especially for younger children. Common design flaws include a shoulder strap that sits too high, and a seatbelt that is mounted to the car’s door.

Who Is at Fault?

If a passenger is injured during a car accident because of a malfunctioning or poorly designed seatbelt, they may be due compensation for damages suffered. Either the seatbelt manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer can be held accountable for failing to provide a safe and functioning seatbelt. We investigate each case and work with experts in the field in order to establish liability so that a strong legal case can be built for our clients.

Contact Us

If a defective seatbelt has caused personal injury or the death of a loved one, you may be due financial compensation for your damages and losses. Contact us at your earliest convenience to set up a meeting with experienced auto accident attorney Sean M. Burke to discuss your case. We look forward to hearing from you.

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