Seat Belt Injuries: Understanding Your Legal Rights
Most people should know by now that they need to use a seat belt when driving. This is because it is well-established that seat belts save a lot of lives. However, due to potential manufacturing defects, seat belts are also known to cause injuries. Ample evidence for this is in the increasing number of seat belts recalled by their manufacturers for various defects.
Speed limits in Houston vary on highways and freeways and can be anywhere from 60 to 70 miles per hour. At this rate of speed, you risk serious injury if you have a car crash, even if you are wearing a seatbelt. If you are a victim of a seat belt injury, you may be entitled to compensation from the seat belt manufacturer.
Types of Seat belt Injuries
- Burns and abrasions on the chest
- Broken ribs
- Sternal fracture
- Intestinal injuries
There is also a risk of suffering serious lower body and abdominal injuries. In fact, studies have shown that this type of injury is less common than a sternal fracture, but serious lower body injuries can happen in head-on, side impact, or rollover accidents. These injuries may not be readily apparent on examination, which is why some victims of car accidents think they are not injured only to find out days later that they have a serious problem.
Seat belt Injury Compensation
Compensation in seat belt injuries often comes in the form of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages give you funds to take care of the losses you suffered as a result of the seat belt injury. They take care of things like wage loss and medical bills. The aim of economic damages is to return you to the state you were in before sustaining the seat belt injury.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for the emotional and psychological trauma associated with suffering a serious injury in a car accident.
Common Causes of Seat belt Failure
There is seat belt failure when a seat belt fails to restrain a car occupant in the event of an accident. Seat belt failures are usually caused by defects in one or more of the following:
- Latches or buckles
- Airbag ECUs in instances where pre-tensioners are tied into the airbag systems.
- Anchors that are bolted to the car.
- Seat belt geometry.
- Pre-tensioners. These are devices supposed to lock the seat belts in the event of a crash.
- Door mounted seat belts. These are types of seat belts known to cause the ejection of an occupant from the car if the door opens.
- Passive restraint seat belts. These are seat belts that automatically belt you in.
- Webbing. This is a component of the seat belt strap designed to withstand the force of a car accident.
Questions? Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one suffered a serious bodily injury as a result of a seat belt malfunction, now is the time to take legal action to pursue financial restitution. Contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 713-221-6800 to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.