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Automakers are consistently creating new safety features to protect vehicle occupants, but the first and best line of defense has always been the seat belt. Seat belts are meant to properly restrain occupants to prevent them from colliding with the inside of the vehicle or be ejected, which can even occur during relatively minor collisions. But many of these seat belts contain defects that remain unknown until the moment they are needed the most.
Understanding the role of seat belts and the devastating nature of seat belt failure due to defects is the key in pursuing compensation for your losses and holding at-fault automakers responsible for their actions. Get the legal help you need by first scheduling a free evaluation.
Types of Seat Belt Defects
While seat belts are fairly basic in design, there are many types of defects that could occur, resulting in seat belt failure and serious injuries.
Commonly occurring types of defects include:
- Poor durability: Seat belts are designed to withstand great force and damage in order to restrain an occupant during the course of an accident. If the seat belt webbing tears or rips when pulled during an accident or is severed during a crash, the occupant will not be restrained.
- Unlatching: This type of defect occurs when the belt is pulled during a crash, but instead of staying latched, the buckle is pulled straight out of the latch.
- Unspooling: Seat belts are meant to spool and unspool with ease in normal situations; however, sudden force is meant to cause the seat belt retractor to catch and hold the belt tightly in place. Should this fail, the belt will not restrain the occupant at all.
- Seat belt system failure: Overall, if the frame of the vehicle and the anchor points of the seat belt system fail or are compromised in a crash, the restraint system will not work properly.
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Proving the Role of Automakers in Your Serious Injury
Should a seat belt fail, an occupant can easily suffer serious or even fatal injuries due to being completely exposed to the inertia of the crash. While seat belt failure is the direct cause of many of the injuries suffered, it can often be difficult to prove that this is the truth and that the failure was the result of an automaker’s design or manufacture. Thorough investigation will be needed to find the exact type of failure that occurred and the exact reasons behind the failure.
The evidence found, along with witness statements, incident reports, accident reconstruction, and expert testimony, can prove to an automaker and insurance company that the claim being made is both fair and accurate. Should an automaker and insurance refuse to pay the claim or offer a lower settlement amount than the victim deserves, this will also be extremely important during a lawsuit.
Facing Automakers with Experienced Legal Representation
Automakers are determined to battle lawsuits in court, especially those that would result in both compensation and proof that their products are defective. At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our San Jose auto product liability attorneys have more than 85 collective years of experience facing major insurance companies in court and are dedicated to representing the victims of large corporations.
For more information on how we can help you overcome the opposition of automakers and find the compensation you need to cope with your losses, contact us today.