Seat belts are vital safety devices fitted in vehicles to keep drivers and passengers safe. But a defective seat belt can put those same people in extreme danger in the event of a crash. When you suffer injuries due to a faulty or malfunctioning safety device, contact an expert defective seat belt lawyer at Bisnar Chase to hold the negligent manufacturers accountable.
Seat belt manufacturers and major vehicle makers across the U.S. are responsible for the safety of their products. But some vehicle belts are prone to unlatching in the event of an accident. This can cause serious injuries or deaths.
Bisnar Chase is a top-rated personal injury law firm, renowned for winning major auto defect lawsuits against negligent car makers. We have the knowledge and experience to maximize your recovery. If you suffer injuries in a crash due to seat belt failure, trust our seat belt injury attorneys to secure the compensation you deserve.
Defective Seat Belt Resources
The Background on Seat Belts
On this page, we will tell you everything you need to know about seat belts. If you want to focus on what to do if you suffer injuries in an accident involving defective seatbelts, please skip ahead and contact our expert attorneys for top-quality representation.
Seat belts were invented in the 1800s to keep English pilots secure in their aircraft. A crude form of seat belt was included in a car for the first time in 1855, invented specifically to keep people safe in New York taxis.
It was not until the 1930s that experts performed proper safety testing, discovering how huge an impact a seat belt could have. The single-strap lap belt came first, before the current three-point seat belt design was created in 1958 and became widely used as an optional extra.
Finally, in 1968, seat belts became mandatory in all new cars in the U.S. It still was not until 1986 that wearing a seat belt was enforced by California law. Read more about the history of seat belts in the United States here.
How Seat Belts Work
The earliest seat belts were lap belts with a single strap pulling across a person’s waist. But most road cars now use the three-point belt design. This design was developed in 1958 by a Swedish engineer and first used in a Volvo.
The three-point seat belt works by securing the strap both across the waist and diagonally down across the chest. The belt is pulled over the shoulder and secured by a buckle that clips into place.
The three-point belt is so named because it has three contact points in the car – at the floor, roof, and buckle.
A three-point seat belt design is now the minimum requirement by law, and it is by far the most common design installed in standard road cars. Manufacturers or owners can install other types if they provide the same (or higher) degree of protection.
For example, some high-performance cars, or vehicles designed specifically for racing, may be fitted with five or seven-point harnesses. These involve straps coming over each shoulder and clipping together in front of you, rather than having the buckle by your side.
Why Are Seat Belts Important?
Seat belts are essential components in nearly all vehicles on the road, from cars and trucks to buses. There is a good reason for that. Failing to buckle up can be deadly.
The consequences of not wearing a seat belt include:
Ejection from the vehicle. The force of the crash can throw you through a door or windscreen, massively increasing the chances of major injuries or death.
You can be thrown at great force into the airbag as it opens. This impact is likely to cause extreme physical harm.
A passenger in a rear seat who is not wearing a seat belt can be thrown into the seat back in front of them, causing it to collapse on the occupant.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), being safely buckled is the single most effective move you can make to protect yourself in a car accident.
The statistics tell a sobering story.
More than 50% of people who die in car crashes in the U.S. are not secured by seat belts.
An estimated 15,000 lives are saved by seat belts every year.
Seat Belt Defects
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers and passengers can do everything right but suffer major injuries due to a dangerous seat belt defect.
Many people use their seat belts exactly as intended, only for the vital safety devices to malfunction and endanger users in the event of a car accident.
A seat belt defect involves the belt not working as it should. The most common seat belt malfunctions include:
False latching: In some cases, a defective seat belt will feel like it has latched into place but has not properly engaged.
Coming unlatched: A seat belt could be properly engaged but spring open without warning.
Locked in place: A seat belt buckle can sometimes become stuck in a latched position. This traps drivers and passengers in the vehicle in a crash.
Strap spool and retractor issues: Seat belt straps are retractable. They unspool from a base and lock in place under pressure. But a retracting problem could cause it to unspool and create too much slack.
Structural or installation faults: Incorrectly fitted components fixing a belt in place could lead to a seat belt failing.
Sub-par strap: Faulty straps might rip, tear, or start to fray and come apart.
Design problems: Having the seat belt fixed at the wrong anchor points, or installing a lap-only belt that does not offer chest protection, can be very dangerous in a crash.
If you or a loved one suffer injuries due to any type of seat belt malfunction, including those listed above, you should contact a seat belt defect injury lawyer at Bisnar Chase.
Our experts have won millions of dollars for clients in auto defect cases. Call us for a free case review.
Car Accident Injuries v. Seat Belt Auto Defect
In most car accident cases, you are involved in a collision with another vehicle. If the other vehicle were mostly to blame for the crash, you would file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
But when the case has an auto defect element, things are a little bit different. An auto defect is a flaw in the vehicle that either causes an accident or contributes to the victim’s injuries.
If your seat belt injuries were caused by a faulty device or made worse by a broken seat belt during a car crash, you might have an auto defect case against the vehicle manufacturer.
You may still file a claim against the negligent driver, but you can also file a seat belt defect lawsuit against the automaker.
Bisnar Chase is a top-rated auto defect law firm with an outstanding track record in holding manufacturers accountable. We have won all kinds of cases, including claims involving seat belt defects. Our personal injury lawyers can help you too.
Seat Belt Defect Liability: Who is to Blame?
So, when can you file an auto defect lawsuit against a car manufacturer due to a faulty seat belt?
If the automaker was in some way negligent, they could be liable for your injuries and losses. Negligent vehicle manufacturer actions can include:
Poor design: If the seat belt design makes it less functional or causes it to fail in a crash, this could constitute negligence.
Manufacturing: The parts and components used to create a seat belt – including the strap, buckle, and retractable base – must be of sufficient quality.
Installation: Negligence can also include mistakes made during the installation process that cause the device to malfunction, such as failing to secure the base anchor properly.
Anyone involved in these processes may share liability. That means you can name them in a lawsuit.
For example, suppose a manufacturer outsourced the parts or components for the vehicle’s seat belts. In that case, that third-party company could also be liable if those components failed and caused the seat belt not to work properly.
You need a seat belt failure attorney on your side who has handled similar cases and can identify automaker negligence.
Types of Injuries Suffered in Seat Belt Failure Accidents
Car accidents are extremely dangerous. The velocity of the collision is often enough to cause severe damage.
A seat belt should hold the occupants of a car in place during a crash. They may still suffer injuries, but the belt significantly lessens them.
When a seat belt fails, the injuries are drastic. They often include:
Internal injuries and organ damage.
Head and neck trauma.
Traumatic brain injuries.
Spinal cord injuries.
The type of serious injury you suffer will depend on the variety of belt malfunctions. For example, people whose belts unbuckle during an accident may be thrown forward into the windscreen or ejected from the vehicle. A restraint failure greatly increases the chance of wrongful death.
It is vital that you work with an auto defect injury attorney who will stand up for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.
What is Your Seat Belt Failure Case Worth?
The amount of money you can recover from a personal injury lawsuit will depend on the merits of the case. The greater the damages or losses suffered, the greater the expected compensation.
Factors accounted for in an injury settlement, or jury verdict may include:
Pain and suffering.
Lost wages if the victim s unable to work due to their injury.
Rehab and care costs.
Any other expenses caused by the negligence.
Those listed above are all examples of compensatory damages. Their intention is to make the victim whole after an accident.
An auto defect verdict may also involve punitive damages. A court may order a negligent auto manufacturer to pay punitive damages as a form of punishment for their wrongdoing. The idea behind punitive damages is to prevent others from suffering a similar fate.
One of the most important factors in determining the amount of compensation you can receive is the quality of your personal injury lawyer. You need a skilled and experienced representative who is not afraid to hold major car makers accountable.
Signs of a Belt Failure: What Evidence Do You Need?
Whenever we handle a car accident case, we are looking for similar evidence. We advise victims to take pictures at the scene of the crash to document the conditions, the damage to the vehicle, and any injuries suffered.
In an auto defect case involving a faulty seat belt, the most compelling evidence will be the car itself. If possible, you need to salvage the vehicle so our experts can examine it. By doing so, they will be able to build the strongest case possible for you.
Many people do not realize that they may have a product liability case against the car company. But there are often telltale signs. You should look out for:
A belt that is unbuckled after an accident.
Any visible issues with the belt, including frays and tears.
Signs of damage to the buckle mechanism.
Severe injuries that do not match the size of the collision or injuries sustained by others in the same vehicle.
Above all, you need an expert seat belt defect attorney who will examine the evidence and tell you straight whether you have a case or not. You can trust Bisnar Chase to do just that.
How To Win Against a Major Car Manufacturer
Taking on a major car company can be daunting for accident victims. These are massive multi-billion-dollar companies that operate in one of the biggest industries in the world.
It is true that any manufacturer will have an army of lawyers working on its defense against a defect liability lawsuit.
But you do not need an army of lawyers. You just need the right law firm on your side. Bisnar Chase is that law firm.
We have the skill, experience, and resources to take your case all the way. Our team has handled countless auto defect claims against giants in the automotive world, winning millions of dollars for our clients.
Some of our top results include:
$32,698,073: Auto defect against seat manufacturers.
$24,744,764: Auto defect – seatback failure.
$14,443,205: Auto defect.
$12,248,000: Auto defect.
$11,000,000: Motor vehicle accident and auto defect.
$10,200,000: Auto defect.
We have won more than $750 Million for our clients, and we can help you too.
To win a case like yours, we need to show a few things. We must prove:
You (the plaintiff) suffered an injury.
The defendant (the car manufacturer) was in some way negligent.
That negligence caused the injuries.
When you buy a car, you expect it to be safe and secure. If a manufacturer lets you down, work with Bisnar Chase to hold them accountable.
Seat Belt Laws in California
Strict seat belt laws are in place for drivers and passengers across California.
According to Vehicle Code 27315 VC, anyone over the age of 16 must wear a seat belt. That includes drivers and all other occupants.
Some states have exceptions for larger vehicles carrying passengers in side-facing seats, such as limos and party buses.
It is important to note that amendments and updates can be made to seat belt laws. For example, in 2018, a new law was passed in California requiring all passengers in commercial buses to wear seat belts for the first time.
Seat Belt Injury Lawsuit FAQs
Our goal is to help you feel comfortable with your decision to sign with our law firm. To do so, we are here to answer any questions you have about the legal process.
We answer some frequently asked questions below. If you have more questions, please give our experts a call!
Auto defect cases differ from car accidents because they involve negligence on the part of the vehicle manufacturer. Bisnar Chase is an industry leader in auto defect claims. Contact us to find out if you have a case.
The statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years from the accident date. But it is best to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. This is especially true with an auto defect when salvaging the vehicle is particularly important in terms of evidence.
The timeframe for a faulty seat belt auto defect case will vary based on the circumstances of your case. Your attorney will do everything possible to secure the right outcome for you.
There is no need to pay a fortune out of pocket for an injury lawyer. At Bisnar Chase, we work on contingency. We advance the money needed to win your case. If we do not win, you pay nothing.
Defective Seat Belt: Major Cases and Lawsuits
Many people suffer injuries due to defective seat belts. Some famous cases demonstrating the dangers of faulty safety systems include:
Woman Awarded $37.6 Million After Car Crash
A 27-year-old woman was awarded $37.6 Million by a jury in 2019 after suffering a broken spine and permanent paralysis in a car crash. The victim was riding in an Uber – a Honda Odyssey – when the accident happened. The Uber ran a red light and collided with a truck. The victim sued Honda, claiming its two-part seat belt system contributed to her injuries.
$59 Million Recovery for Crash Victim Whose Legs Were Crushed
A man received a major settlement after suffering leg crush injuries in an auto accident. His legs were later amputated. The victim filed a claim against Toyota, with the company eventually ordered to pay $59.7 Million. The auto giant failed to provide any warnings about driving with the seat reclined, which made the seat belt ineffective during a crash and led to catastrophic results.
Class Action to be Launched Over Hyundai Exploding Seat Belts
Hyundai recalled more than 230,000 cars in May 2022 due to a dangerous fault that can cause their seat belts to explode and shoot metal debris through the vehicle when the strap locks during a crash. A new class action lawsuit claims that the manufacturer knew about the issue and should have acted sooner.
Hire a Top-Rated Seat Belt Defect Attorney Near Me
After an accident, you need to work with a skilled attorney that you can trust. You get just that with Bisnar Chase.
Our law firm offers superior representation. That is a broad term. Of course, it means that we have an outstanding track record of success. But we also take great pride in supporting our clients when they need it most.
A free consultation and a no win no fee promise.
A national reputation for auto defect cases, including seat belt lawsuits.
More than $750 Million won for our clients.
A 99% success rate.
Easy to contact with a commitment to our clients.
Car accidents are traumatic, and taking on an automotive giant can be daunting. After a crash, you need the right support system in place to win the compensation you deserve. Let Bisnar Chase help.
Contact a skilled defective seat belt injury lawyer today. Call (800) 561-4887, fill in the contact form on our website to send us an email, or use our website live chat.