It is not an unreasonable expectation for anyone who occupies a vehicle to be able to do so without the seat back failing and causing an injury or an accident. For many people this expectation is unmet due to outdated regulations and an automotive industry that refuses to implement new technologies that would prevent seat backs from failing, however. Not only can the failure of seat backs cause harm and increase the severity of injuries, but defective seats can be the cause of preventable accidents that put the occupants of other vehicles in harm’s way as well.
The Importance of Stable Seat Backs To Protect Occupants In Accidents
It is a proven fact that the combination of airbags and seatbelt usage saves lives and reduces the severity of injuries. When seat backs fail, however, the occupant is moved out of position to be able to benefit from these safety devices. Defective seat backs can further endanger people’s lives by shifting them into positions that will cause them to impact surfaces or to be thrown from the vehicle. Other complications that can arise from seat back failures include the following.
- Sudden inability to operate the vehicle— Imagine that you are driving and suddenly need to do so while lying down. Seat back failures have caused this exact scenario to play out, causing accidents that could have otherwise been avoided.
- Injuries to other occupants— The failure of seat backs can injure other people inside the vehicle—particularly those in the back seat. Such failures can cause serious or fatal injuries to children in car seats that are struck by the seat back.
- Entrapment of passengers— In the event of an accident, if a seat back fails, it may trap a passenger, contributing to further injury if the victim is unable to escape or be removed to safety during a car fire, or in the event that the vehicle is submerged in water.
Automotive Industry Liability
Automakers have been aware of the impact of seat back failures for over thirty years now and advances toward a solution have been slow. Despite conducting studies that have shown indisputable evidence that there is a correlation between seat back failures and increased severity of injury; automakers have refused on countless occasions to upgrade their seats. As auto product liability attorneys, we feel that the auto industry needs to be held accountable for their failure to put the safety of their customers above their bottom line.
Over the last several years, the NHSTA has needed to mandate the recall of several automakers’ seats, but auto companies should not need to be forced to recall defective parts after they have harmed people. These recalls should be issued well beforehand or the seats should be redesigned to meet acceptable safety standards to begin with.
Anyone who experiences undue harm due to negligence is entitled to compensation for their medical bills, time off work and pain and suffering. If you have been in an accident and feel that seat back failure may have contributed to your injuries, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have the experience and knowledge needed to protect and fight for what you are owed. Call or email us today to schedule a free consultation. We will examine your case with the greatest care and advise you on how best to proceed.