Mercedes-Benz USA is issuing an auto defect recall for nearly 30,000 vehicles from its 2018 and 2019 model years because a correctly latched seatbelt may be erroneously identified as unfastened. According to Consumer Reports, as a result of this issue, audible and visual alerts will activate to notify the driver and passenger that a seatbelt is not properly secured. This could also lead to other systems malfunctioning in the event of a crash, causing serious injuries to vehicle occupants.
Potential for Serious Injuries
The German automaker conducted an investigation when it received complaints about the problem. Mercedes and one of its suppliers determined that the problem stems from the geometry of the seatbelt buckle. So, a manufacturing defect may lead to a correctly-latched seatbelt being mistakenly detected as not being properly latched. Due to this problem, the seatbelt pretensioners that lock the belt in place during a crash, and a Mercedes safety system, may not be activated. Subsequent investigations determined that another supplier was using a tool with excessive wear to create the seatbelt buckle, which caused the problem.
The automaker has not said if it’s aware of any crashes or injuries linked to this problem. When the recall begins Dec. 31, Mercedes-Benz will notify owners by mail. Dealers will inspect the front seat buckles, replacing them free of charge. For more information, call MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372. You can check to see if your vehicle has an open recall by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website and plugging in your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number of VIN.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Automakers have a responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they produce are safe for consumers. Those who have been injured by a defective vehicle can seek compensation by filing a product liability lawsuit against the automaker or the manufacturer of the defective part. Victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
If your loved one has died as the result of a defective auto, you could file a wrongful death claim against the automaker seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced auto product defect lawyer will be able to conduct a thorough and independent investigation in your case and ensure that you are fairly compensated for all your losses.