Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
Seat Back Failure Claims
Some of the most common type of car accidents are rear-end collisions. These accidents can be particularly dangerous when the vehicle that is struck does not have adequate safety mechanisms to protect the driver and other occupants. One especially problematic auto defect involves seatback failures or seat back collapses.
Seat back failures occur when a vehicle is hit with enough force that the front seat collapses backward. As an article by Forbes magazine explained, serious injuries can result even if the impact between the two vehicles is slight.[i] In one known instance, a driver’s seatback broke and collapsed in a fairly low-speed collision, which left him blind and mostly paralyzed.
Videos of seatback failure collisions show how devastating injuries can result from a seatback failure accident.[ii] These accidents can cause serious injuries to front seat passengers, whose entire bodies are thrown backwards from the force of the collision and their seat collapse. But these accidents are perhaps more dangerous to rear seat passengers. Passengers in the back seats may be violently struck by the heads and bodies of the front seat passengers who are thrust backward. In fact, a CBS News Investigation revealed more than 100 instances of serious injuries or even deaths of infants, babies, and small children who were struck by a front seat driver or passenger who experienced a seat back failure.[iii]
Car manufacturers are required to build their seats to comply with a federal safety standard that was created in 1967. Members of Congress have contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, urging it to update this standard. This is particularly important given that auto makers have not properly reported the number of seatback failure injuries and deaths that have occurred. Because auto makers have not properly reported injuries and deaths caused by seat back collapses, NHTSA has indicated that it does not have enough data to require an amendment of this standard.
Even if the federal seatback standard is not updated, however, the CBS investigation indicates that seatback failure injuries and death can be significantly reduced if car manufacturers make some minor adjustments to design. Many of these problems involving car seats that collapse can be fixed for as little as one dollar.[iv]
If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed due to a defective car seat back that failed or collapsed in a rear-end collision, you may have a civil claim for money damages against the car company that made the defective seat. Defective seat backs are an especially dangerous type of automobile defect that are known to cause significant injuries, such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, broken vertebrae, and catastrophic injuries to rear-seat passengers, including infants, babies, and small children.
It is important to act quickly in a dangerous car defect claim like a seat back failure case, as it will be essential to have the vehicle preserved, maintained and saved as proof of the defect. Because early action after an accident is essential, it is vitally important that you contact an attorney and law firm that has proven experience handling car defect claims.
For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Virginia auto defect attorney, call Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 or email him at [email protected]. Bob is happy to meet with you at your convenience, whether at your home, the hospital, or some other place.
[i] Seat Back Collapse: 15 Years Later Feds Still Fail to Address a Deadly Problem, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2016/11/29/seat-back-collapse-15-years-later-feds-still-fail-to-address-a-deadly-problem/#1c4e2c93333ehttps://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2016/11/29/seat-back-collapse-15-years-later-feds-still-fail-to-address-a-deadly-problem/#1c4e2c93333e