The most important safety feature in any car is the seatbelt. The purpose of the seatbelt is to restrain us and prevent us from suffering serious injuries during an auto accident. Unfortunately, if a seatbelt is defective, it can make a normally survivable auto accident a deadly or painful occurrence.
During an auto accident, there are two collisions. The first collision is when the automobile hits another object or car. The second collision is where the seatbelt comes into play. During the second collision, the occupants of the vehicle collide with the interior.
The purpose of the seatbelt is to prevent you from being injured during the second collision. If a seatbelt is defective, it can prevent you from being adequately restrained during an auto accident, even if you have buckled in. Some of the most common seatbelt defects include:
- Seatbelts mounted on doors can become unmounted. These types of seatbelts have many different risks associated with them, including serious spinal injuries if the occupant fails to buckle the waist strap and is ejected from the car.
- Seatbelts can unlatch during an accident or rollover. While auto manufacturers deny that seatbelts can unlatch during an auto accident, recent studies have shown that the forces of an auto accident can cause the seatbelt button to depress, unlatching the seatbelt.
- Lap belts can cause additional internal injuries. Some cars are made with only lap belts, leaving your upper body vulnerable to catastrophic injuries from colliding with the windshield, steering wheel, or dashboard.
- Shoulder retractors failing. The device within the shoulder restraints on some seatbelts can be defective, allowing too much slack, and preventing proper restrain during a collision.
Seatbelts are the most essential safety feature of any automobile, and if they are defective, it can result in catastrophic injury or death. After any accident you should be aware of some of the telltale signs that a seatbelt may have been defective.
- If an occupant makes contact with the windshield, it may indicate that the retractor is defective
- If an occupant is found unrestrained, but they or another passenger insists they were buckled in
Seatbelt defects are difficult to discover, and even more difficult to litigate.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured in an accident because a defective seatbelt was unable to perform its function and restrain its occupant, please contact one of the experienced defective product attorneys at Long & Long in Mobile, Alabama, by calling (251) 432-2277.