En Español

Do I have a case for my seatback failure defect?

Free Case Evaluation - Our full time staff is ready to evaluate your case submission and will respond in a timely manner.

Car Seat Back Testing Gets an F

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards for car seat backs have not changed since 1967, when cars were built much stronger and roomier. These standards are weak and allow even the flimsiest seats to pass their tests.

In addition, as discussed recently on Fox 11 News Los Angeles in their report titled The Dangers of Defective Car Seatbacks Exposed, car seat back testing is insufficient and does not represent real-world scenarios. Testing standards do not put car seat backs through a rigorous battery of scenarios. Seat belts, air bags, and roofs all have a minimum level of safety that must be achieved before the NHTSA will approve them for use. There is no such test for car seat backs.

NHTSA tests dramatically illustrate how a front seat may collapse in a rear-impact car crash and still meet the performance requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 207. GM, Ford, and other U.S. car companies, are aware that their car seats will collapse in rear-end crashes where the cars are traveling at speeds as little as 20 mph.

When a car seat collapses, the occupant may be thrust into the back seat of the vehicle. The passenger's head may strike the back seat, or other occupants, and cause severe injuries to everyone involved. Many children have died as a result of internal injuries when the front seat passenger's head rammed into their small bodies.

The goal for car makers is to design vehicles that enhance passenger safety, not ones that create or aggravate injuries when involved in a car crash. If your car is involved in a front- or side-impact crash, your forward movement is stopped by your seat belt and your car's air bags. Assuming both are working properly, if you are hit from behind, there is nothing to stop your body from flying backward. Your head could strike the back seat, you could slip out of your safety harness, or you could snap your neck from being thrown around the car.

Car seats that keep occupants in an upright position will prevent most head and spinal cord injuries. If the car seat back collapses, the occupant can be ejected or lose control of the vehicle and be exposed to otherwise avoidable multiple injuries. The occupant can also be hurled into the vehicle's rigid interior structures or other occupants.

The collapsed car seat back can make it difficult for crash victims to get out of the car, an especially hazardous defect when a fuel system has ruptured and a vehicle is on fire. In real world, low-speed, rear-impact crashes, flimsy car seat backs have failed to provide adequate protection. Fully investigated "fender bender" cases dramatically demonstrate that car seat back failures in low-impact accidents have resulted in severe or fatal injuries. Poorly designed adjustable head restraints add to the hazard because they can be adjusted to lie flush with the top of the seat back, allowing the occupant's heads to pivot over the headrest. This can cause severe spinal injury that could lead to paraplegia and quadriplegia.

The best-known car seat back designs are in the Chrysler Sebring convertible and the Mercedes SL series convertibles. Both vehicles have front seats that are strong, and remain upright in rear-end collisions. There is also no increase in injury due to whiplash from stiff seats. The risk of whiplash is often the reason auto manufacturers claim they should not change the designs of their car seats. They claim that if they make them more solid, it will increase whiplash incidents.

Was This Page Helpful? Yes | No

Seatback Failure Lawyers

  • Seatback Failure happens when a car is rear-ended and a car seat breaks at the hinge, sending the passengers backwards into the seat behind them with no restraint. This forceful push into the back seat can cause brain damage to the passenger in the broken seat, or damage to the passenger in the back seat.
  • Most broken seatbacks are a result of flimsy construction and insufficient standards, but some incidents can happen when incorrect materials have been used to create the seat, or a retaining pin that keeps the seat upright is sheared off. All of these are dangerous defects that should not happen under normal rear-end accidents.
  • If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a seatback failure, know your rights and contact an attorney today. We may be able to get you the compensation you deserve.
  • Over $300M in verdicts and settlements.
  • Firm commitment to public safety and holding corporate giants accountable.
  • A team of auto defect attorneys who are dedicated and compassionate.
  • Serving California since 1978.

Client Reviews of Bisnar Chase

“I would like to thank Bisnar and Chase for the wonderful job that they accomplished on my personal injury case. They were very professional and extremely effective. Thanks again.”

by Bruce Anguiano

reviewed at Yelp

“INTEGRITY, CONFIDENCE AND THOROUGHNESS-THIS FIRM IS AMAZING! when my German Shepherd was falsely accused of biting a child, I thought, who better than the best personal injury attorney out there to ask for advise? Researched best attorneys in OC for dog bites, and was directed to the law firm of Bisnar and Chase. To say I was astounded at the depth of the response I received to my online enquiry is an understatement.
Upfront they said they weren't defense attorneys, but (after winning numerous severe dog bite cases over the years) they took the time to line item their opinion of how events would unfold (putting my mind at ease). In this day and age, the fact they took the time out of their busy day to respond so thoroughly to a cry for help ( inwhich they had absolutely nothing to gain), speaks volumns about the integrity of this firm. I wouldn't hesitate to use them, or refer them.”

by Stephanie C.

reviewed at Yelp

“I just wanted everyone to know how grateful Miguel and Luga were to your office and everyone that participated in their case. I met with them this morning to give them their settlement checks - Miguel stated from the first time he walked into our office and from walking out the door today was one of the most heartwarming experiences he has ever had. They both felt cared for and taken care of every step of the way! I just wanted to pass that on to each of you and to applaud you for such a fine job!”

by M E.

reviewed at Yelp


Watch Video

How Does The Auto Recall Process Work?

Watch Video

Why Focus on Auto Defect Cases?