The seat-back failures in today’s cars are a problem that needs to be solved and one we’ve focused on for over 25 years. Motor vehicle seat-back failures have been a problem for decades, and the main reason is the design of the seats. The seat backs in motor vehicles are not sturdy enough and don’t have enough support to withstand even minor accidents.
Millions of people are unaware of the risks associated with poorly designed seats in our cars and how dangerous they are. Car seats have been purposefully poorly designed for years and have not been upgraded to meet today’s society’s needs and safety standards because the automotive industry puts profit over safety.
Contact the experienced California Seat Back Failure Lawyers of Bisnar Chase if you’ve been seriously injured in a seat-back failure crash. We have represented over 12,000 clients and won over $750 million in verdicts and settlements.
Our firm has extensive experience when it comes to handling and winning seat-back failure claims. Bisnar Chase is a pioneer in auto defect law. Our defective product attorneys have been leading the way in seatback failure cases for years and may be able to help you too.
Call (800) 561-4887 for a free consultation with an experienced California seat-back failure attorney with a wealth of experience trying these cases to victory.
California SeatBack Failures TOC
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is a legal responsibility imposed on manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, or distributors of defective products when a consumer is harmed by the use or consumption of a product. This responsibility can include any injury or property damage caused by the use of the product.
Products liability can come in many forms. The most common form of product liability is when the manufacturer or seller of a product or service fails to provide adequate warnings about the potential risks associated with using the product. This is referred to as failure to warn.
A car seat back failure is a type of auto defect and is exactly what it sounds like, a defective seat in your motor vehicle. It refers to a person sustaining injuries due to a faulty or dangerous product. A consumer that suffers at the hands of a manufacturer or retailer can file a negligence claim.
For example, in the case of a car, the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the product (the vehicle) is safe for normal use. If an element of the car malfunctions and causes an accident or injury, this is an example of product liability, and the auto manufacturer can be held liable.
Product liability laws can vary from state to state. California has a “strict liability” law for defective products. Strict liability can apply to three different categories, including design defects, warning defects, and manufacturing defects.
To strengthen your defective products claim, you need to have evidence.
Your product defect claim can be better supported if it contains evidence of the following:
- The product upon sale is defective
- The product was defective when it left the seller’s possession
- The consumer reasonably used the product and still suffered injuries
There are many different types of product defects and liability in California. If your accident involves a consumer product that is faulty or unsafe, you may have a case and should contact a seat back failure lawyer.
Seatback Failure and Product Liability
Defective brakes, tires, and airbags are the most common auto claims brought to the courts. These are all examples of an auto defect, which falls under product defect laws.
Seatback failures, although rare, end up almost every time with a deadly or paralyzing outcome. More shocking is that many legal representatives say that the auto industries downplay the severity of seatback failures.
Seatback failure can occur by a car is rear-ended, even at speeds as low as 25 mph. Our California seat-back accident attorneys are dedicated to holding automakers accountable if a seatback failure endangers a driver.
Trial lawyer Brian Chase, the managing partner at Bisnar Chase, is passionate about taking on the auto industry, especially when manufacturers misconstrue facts about seatback failure dangers.
Brian Chase said: “When you combine the results of this crash-test data along with one of the industry’s top experts being caught red-handed ‘fudging’ in his ‘authoritative’ research, it conclusively concludes that the auto industry is flat out wrong, and, at best, misguided – at worst, lying to us.”
Legal experts suggest researching the safety and reliability of a car before your purchase, but that is not always enough. When a vehicle manufacturer fails you by selling a faulty, sub-standard, or dangerous vehicle, our personal injury law firm will help you fight for justice.
Why Seat-Back Failures are So Dangerous
The primary safety features in a vehicle include the safety belt and airbag systems. In a seatback collapse, neither of these critical safety features will be effective in the event of a crash. The airbag will likely not protect the victim at all, and the seatbelt may not be able to prevent the occupant from being ejected. Sometimes, the lowered chair can act as a ramp, causing the victim to be jettisoned from the rear window.
Other potentially serious conditions that may arise include:
Loss of control: If the seatback fails while the vehicle is in motion, the driver may be unable to sit upright. This situation can make it difficult for the driver to avoid an accident before pulling over and coming to a stop.
Vehicle ejection: During a high-speed collision, a seatback failure can result in the partial or complete ejection of the occupant from the vehicle.
Rear-passenger injuries: If there is an occupant in the back seat at the time of the failure, he or she may be crushed by the seat of the front seat occupant. A seatback collapse can also trap the rear passenger resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries.
Flying headrest: A defective headrest, in addition to failing to protect the head and neck of the occupant, can also become a deadly flying projectile in the event of a high-speed collision. Continue reading for more information on defective headrest dangers on this page.
Blocked exits: Vehicles are full of combustible fluids and gases. In a car fire, a defective seat can trap the occupants inside the vehicle, preventing them from escaping to safety.
Blunt force trauma: A vehicle occupant can get thrown around in the vehicle during a crash. This could result in severe head and spinal injuries, leaving victims with permanent damage and disabilities.
Causes of SeatBack Failures
A seat must be designed to withstand the impact of a car accident. Seatback failure occurs when the weight of a vehicle occupant forces the back of the seat to collapse, often during a collision.
Seatback collapse can result from the following:
- A faulty design.
- Poor assembly.
- Improper installation.
- Cheap or flimsy materials.
If strong materials are properly assembled, it is much more likely that the seat will stay upright during a collision. When flimsy materials are used, the seatback frame may become deformed or collapse
The two most common types of seatback collapse involve the failure of the seatback support system to maintain an upright position and the deformation of the seatback frame.
Failures attributed to the deformation of the mounting system that holds the seat to the vehicle floor or a collapse of the vehicle floor pan are less common. Another common problem with seatbacks is the detachment of adjustable head restraints during an accident.
Rear end collisions are one of the main reasons behind car accidents. These types of crashes are more likely to occur when a vehicle is stopped at an intersection with a large amount of traffic or when two cars are approaching each other at high speeds.
Rear end collisions can happen if another driver moves into your lane without signaling and then cuts you off. In many cases, rear end collisions result in severe injuries and even death.
Rear-end crashes are characterized as a car being hit from behind. Rear-end impacts are one of the most common causes of a faulty seatback collapsing.
The consequences of a rear-end crash and seatback failure combination can be grave. It can result in catastrophic and life-altering injuries and fatalities in extreme cases. A seatback failure defect can be a strong component of a wrongful death claim.
This is why California law states that drivers should maintain a four-second distance between cars to enforce sufficient reaction time to avoid rear-ending other vehicles.
If you’ve been in a rear-end accident and your seat-back failed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our seatback injury lawyers for a free consultation.
Preventing Rear End Collisions
To prevent this type of crash from happening, make sure always to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. Also, wear seat belts at all times and ensure that your tires are properly inflated. Finally, be careful when you encounter intersections with heavy traffic or large groups of vehicles. If you see an opportunity to move into another lane, take it! It’s a good idea to continually check your rear-view mirror while you are stopped.
Top-Rated SeatBack Failure Attorneys
The law firm of Bisnar Chase has handled and won a series of major seatback failure cases, securing significant compensation for accident victims and recovering hundreds of millions for our clients.
Our seat back failure attorneys secured a huge jury verdict of $24.7 million for an accident victim named Jaklin Mikhal Romine. She was permanently paralyzed after her car was rear-ended at an intersection in Pasadena, CA, in 2006, and the defective driver’s seat collapsed on impact.
Bisnar Chase took legal action against seat manufacturer Johnson Controls, first winning a jury trial and then winning again in an appellate court.
We also represented the mother of a 7-year-old girl who died due to seatback failure. The plaintiff and her daughter were rear-ended at 25 mph while traveling in a Ford Escort. As a result of the seat-back failures, the mother’s head struck the daughter in the chest, causing the young girl’s heart to rupture. She also suffered from internal bleeding. This was a devasting case; her mother still lobbies for change to this day.
You can learn more about their stories by watching this news report, which includes an interview with dangerous defects attorney and expert Brian Chase, explaining what took place when these car seats failed.
Contact our seatback failure lawyers in California for a free consultation if you’ve been injured or want to pursue a wrongful death claim for a loved one.
Pain and Suffering Compensation
Pain and suffering is a claim you can make in personal injury cases. You can make this claim if you have suffered pain and mental distress from the accident. The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on the severity of your injuries, your pain and suffering, any loss of earnings, future care costs, and any other losses caused by the accident.
A large part of your personal injury claim can be based on your continued pain and suffering. Some of the injuries will heal, but the long-term impact of emotional pain and distress can bring a lot of value to your personal injury case.
Very detailed medical records and law firm notations will track your pain and suffering to increase the case’s value. This evidence needs to be tracked and searched extremely well by a competent lawyer to ensure nothing is left out. The smallest details can make a difference in the outcome of your case. Your personal injury attorney should use every legal avenue to maximize your case, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions if you think something is being overlooked. It could be very important.
When one of your loved ones is injured or killed due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, it harms the entire family.
And while no amount of money can replace your family, most states allow close relatives to file “loss of consortium” claims to get financial compensation for the disruption caused to their family.
Loss of Consortium Damages
Loss of consortium damages is a type of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. It compensates the injured party for the loss of love and companionship they would have enjoyed if not for the injury.
Several factors are taken into account while calculating loss of consortium damages. These factors include:
- -The age, sex, and relationship between the plaintiff and defendant
- -The presence of any children from the marriage or relationship
- -The extent to which either party has contributed to household income or support
Who Can Bring a Loss of Consortium Claim?
To bring a loss of consortium claim, the plaintiff must be the spouse or partner of the injured person and must have been living with them at the time of injury. If they were not living together, there would be no loss of consortium claim.
A few states also allow the loss of consortium for parents and kids. State law will determine some limits on the claim, and a proof will be required.
Trial attorney Brian Chase shares the dangers drivers face when they ride with defective car seats.
Defective Seatback Recalls
When auto defects are reported, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) will likely investigate the safety of the vehicle and determine if a recall is warranted by the auto manufacturers
For example, drivers or passengers should report the defect to the watchdog when they suffer injuries in seatback failure accidents. NHTSA will perform its own tests. When a seat is deemed defective, the auto manufacturers may issue a recall to fix the problem.
In March of 2013, Ford recalled 230,000 Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans with third-row seats that could come loose because of rust issues.
In June 2013, Tesla recalled Model S vehicles for faulty rear seat latches that allowed the seat to move during a crash.
Nissan recalled 11,000 Juke crossovers from the model year 2012 for an incomplete welding issue that allowed the rear seatback to become loose in an accident.
These are just some of the setback issue recalls, but there have been plenty of other auto defect dangers over the years. Our personal injury attorneys specialize in auto defects, including seatback failure, roof crush, and rollover defects. Having a lawyer that has expertise in this area is critical to the success of proving your case.
Defective Headrest Dangers
You might not think of the headrests in your car as being essential safety features. But defective headrests can contribute to catastrophic spine and brain injuries.
Optional headrests were first added to cars in the U.S. in the 1960s and became mandatory in new cars from 1969 onward. They are often thought of as devices to increase comfort, but head restraints are also absolutely vital in ensuring the safety of vehicle drivers and passengers in the event of a crash.
Unfortunately, this means that a defective headrest can lead to catastrophic injuries and death.
When are Headrests Defective?
All kinds of different headrests are installed in cars, depending on the vehicle’s make, age, and price. Types include:
- Static head restraints
- Adjustable headrests
- Active headrests
- Integrated headrests
Some headrests are built into the seat, while others can be adjusted and detached. Car manufacturers are consistently making safety innovations, but sometimes fail their customers by providing faulty or defective products.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has strict laws. These dictate the size, position, and angle of car headrests. They also state that headrests must be able to stand up to 890 N of force.
A defective headrest will become loose, break off, or fail to provide proper support in an accident.
Defective Headrest Injuries
Car crashes can cause injuries, from blunt force trauma to burns. But injuries caused by a whiplash motion of the head and neck are most common.
Whiplash injuries occur when the collision force causes the victim’s neck to snap back and jolt forward suddenly. Depending on the force of impact, this can cause extreme injuries.
Standard whiplash can cause debilitating neck pain, headaches, loss of mobility, depression, blurred vision, and much more. In extreme cases, when a great impact has snapped the neck back, it can cause:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Herniated discs and other serious back injuries
The headrests in a car are designed to mitigate the risks of such serious injuries. They were invented to prevent the head and neck from being able to snap back as far, minimizing the effects of a car accident.
Serious injuries can still occur in car crashes. Still, a defective headrest could make them much worse, putting drivers and passengers in danger of chronic pain, paralysis, and severe cognitive issues.
If your head restraint has collapsed on impact and failed to provide proper support, contact the seatback failure lawyers of Bisnar Chase for expert help. To find out if there have been any recalls on your vehicle, visit the auto manufacturer’s website.
Accidents involving malfunctioning or collapsing seatbacks can be closely linked to defective seatbelts in cars.
Over three million people each year suffer from severe injuries and fatalities caused by defective seatbelts. When a car crashes into a driver, upon impact the driver relies on their seat-belt for protection. Seatbelts act to lessen the blow of a car collision.
But when the seatback fails, it can eliminate the seat belt and leave the occupants vulnerable. A seat belt can also be solely defective.
If a seatbelt is defective, injuries sustained can include serious chest and head injuries. There are five kinds of instances that can cause your seatbelt to be defective.
5 types of seatbelt defects:
- Unlatching: Some seatbelts unlatch during a crash because of the great force of the impact. This has to do with certain types of seatbelts. Automakers claim that this is not a common occurrence.
- Inadequate latching: Seatbelts can appear to be perfectly fastened but there are occasions where a seatbelt would unlatch in a small car crash and cause a driver to be unprotected.
- Defects in seatbelt webbing: The material of a seatbelt should be able to withstand any rips. There are instances though where the seatbelt fabric can rip during a vehicle collision.
- Seatbelt failing to retract: The purpose of a seatbelt is to make sure you’re secure in a sedentary position. If your seatbelt fails to retract this means that your seatbelt can be loosened at the time of an accident and you can potentially be thrust out of your seat.
- Improper installation: When installed, seatbelts must be anchored well to protect the driver and their passengers. If a seatbelt is not mounted correctly then a person in the car can be severely injured and can even die.
At Bisnar Chase, our California seatback failure attorneys can take on cases involving all kinds of vehicle faults and failures, securing the compensation you deserve.
Federal Safety Standards
Federal safety standards relating to automobile seatbacks have not been updated in a long time and are way too lenient. According to safety experts, who have studied seatback safety for decades, the seats in most of our automobiles are no better than lawn chairs.
Automobile seats are only required to pass a strength requirement. They don’t have to go through a crash test rating system although seatbacks routinely fail during NHTSA’s 30-mph rear-impact crash tests (FMVSS 301).
FMVSS 207, the federal rule pertaining to seating systems in automobiles, has not been updated in more than three decades. This rule mandates that a seat must withstand a pull of 3,300 inch-pounds applied on the seatback in a rearward direction.
Despite numerous petitions over the years to revise this standard, there has been no action on the part of NHTSA. The seatback strength in most vehicles needs to increase six-fold to provide a reasonable degree of safety to vehicle occupants in the event of a crash.
Important Facts about Seatback Failure
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 390 complaints regarding seatback failure in one year resulting in 112 injuries and one death. Many of these injuries could have been prevented had the auto manufacturer designed and manufactured these seatbacks using technology that has been available for decades now.
There are several vehicle models in which seatback failure is a routine occurrence and automakers are aware of these serious defects:
- Ford Motor Company has been aware of dangerous seats for over 30 years. This deadly problem was investigated by Ford in 1992, and the outcome was that the seats cause serious harm in the event of rear-end collisions. Ford did not make any design changes to combat the seriousness of seat back failures. Our law firm has seen first-hand evidence of weak seatbacks in the Ford Escort and Ford Explorer models.
- Virtually every front seat produced by General Motors Corporation from 1970 to the mid-1990s was designed to collapse rearward in an impact in which there was a speed change of 15 mph or greater. According to documents obtained by CBS for its series on seats collapsing in rear-end collisions in 1992, GM attorneys advised top executives that their standard seats could no longer be defended.
- GM knew, as early as 1966, that seat strength is directly related to occupant safety in a rear-impact collision. They have known that the occupant’s survival depends largely upon a front seat structure that holds the passenger in an upright position, and yet, they have not upgraded their seats. A leading GM engineer, David C. Viano, in a 1994 internal GM study, projected that 376 to 470 lives could be saved each year and estimated that improvements would prevent 1,000 serious injuries each year in rear-end collisions if the company strengthened its seat backs.
- Daimler Chrysler has been known to have seats collapse as well. In 2001, a mother, one of our clients, was driving one of the manufacturer’s minivans and was ejected from her seat during a crash due to a seat back collapse. The collapsed seat caused the mother to fatally strike her 8-month-old child, who was in a car seat behind her. In 1999, a woman was rendered quadriplegic after an accident in which the driver’s seat recliner bracket of a Daimler Chrysler Dodge Ram Pickup broke. This caused the seat to collapse backward and eject the woman out of her seat, striking her head on the roof of the cab. This structural weakness exists in all 1995, 1996, and 1997 Dodge Ram extended cab models.
- Cars equipped with bucket seats and/or split bench seats have a higher risk for seat back failure. These models have been known to bend or collapse in rear-end collisions. They are unable to safely withstand impacts, even in a collision occurring at a speed as low as 15 mph.
Contact an Experienced CA. Seat Back Failure Attorney
Auto accidents pose a threat of serious injuries such as fractures, head injuries, internal organ damage, scarring, disfigurement, and spinal cord injuries. We help victims who have been injured or killed, secure fair compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and all other related damages.
The seatback failure lawyers of Bisnar Chase have over four decades in personal injury law including serious and catastrophic auto defect cases. We have the talent, funds, and reputation to take your auto defect or product malfunction case to the finish line.
Seat back failure is a serious vehicle defect in many automobiles that causes numerous catastrophic injuries and fatalities each year. Poorly designed and defective seats, for example, can collapse backward on impact resulting in devastating injuries to vehicle occupants.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by a defective auto part such as a failed seat-back, faulty seatbelt, or defective air bag call our office to discuss your case. You may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced auto defect trial lawyers are compassionate and highly skilled in the field of defective products. We have a 99% success rate and can win your case.
Contact the California seat-back failures lawyers of Bisnar Chase now for expert legal representation. Call (800) 561-4887.