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What Do I Do if I’m Injured by a Defective Seat Belt?

How To Pursue Compensation For A Defective Seat belt In Texas

Modern automobiles contain many devices designed to save lives when someone is in an accident, including airbags, crumple-zones, and anti-lock brakes. However, the seat belt has arguably saved more lives and prevented more injuries than all other safety devices combined.

The seat belt was first introduced in a handful of vehicles in the late 1940s and early 1950s but is now a mandatory safety apparatus for most motor vehicles sold in the United States. Unfortunately, despite advances in technology and manufacturing standards, defectively designed or manufactured seat belts still cause a large number of deaths and injuries every year.

If you suspect you've been injured in Texas due to a defectively designed or manufactured seat belt, you need a tough, experienced attorney on your side. The experienced attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have a proven track record of representing victims of defectively designed or manufactured seat belts and may be able to assist you in obtaining the recovery from your injuries that you deserve.

In this article, Texas products liability attorney Michael Grossman explains how defective seatbelt injury cases work, what you can recover, and what you need to know.

Questions answered in this section:

  • How can a defective seat belt contribute to an injury?
  • What recourse do I have in Texas if I've been injured due to a defective seat belt?
  • How does the court determine if the defective seat belt led to my injuries in Texas?

Texas Seat Belt Laws:

Texas law defines a "safety belt" as "a lap belt and any shoulder straps included as original equipment on or added to a vehicle." Seat belts are manufactured in several ways, including lap belts, traditional lap and harness belts, and also include child safety seats. Under Texas law, all passengers must be secured by a safety belt while occupying the vehicle. While these laws have been essential in saving numerous lives and preventing countless injuries since its implementation, they cannot protect against a manufacturer's defective design or improper manufacture. Unfortunately, there are too many vehicles with defective safety devices on the road today, and auto manufacturers have failed to adequately inform the public or to replace their own defective products.

Defective safety belts can cause death or seriously bodily injury.

Although most safety belt injuries occur as a side effect of their success - that is, most people only suffer injuries as a result of the force their bodies place on the safety belt as a side effect of the violence that occurs after a collision - people are injured because the safety belt actually worked. However, people can also be injured when the belt is defective.

People may be injured by defective seat belts in a variety of ways. For example, a seat belt may have been defectively manufactured where its webbing prematurely frays or becomes unraveled. A seat belt that is frayed or is easily torn is defectively manufactured because it will not be strong enough to keep from tearing when someone is in an accident.

However, perhaps the most common defect is from a latch that is falsely secured or those that become unlatched when exposed to the brute force associated with an auto accident. A defective latch may not be able to sustain the force it is placed under when in an accident, and as a result becomes unlatched and causes death or serious injury. Moreover, a latch is defectively manufactured when it appears to be latched, but it really isn't. You should be aware that a police report after an accident will often report the accident victim as "unbuckled" where the seat belt was defective. When this occurs, it is important that your rights and the true circumstances of the accident are represented on your behalf by a products liability attorney with experience in defective seat belts like those at Grossman Law Offices.

More about seat belt safety:

Not wearing a seat belt is a moving violation in Texas, so wearing one is that much more important. With that being said, if you do wear one, make sure to inspect it every so often. Just run your hand along the entire length of the seat belt and visually inspect it to make sure there are no frays or discolorations that may be indicators that the material is worn or damaged.

The same goes for the seat belt latch. If you've been noticing that your latch has been finicky lately, either sticking when you push the button, or the male end of the seat belt is having trouble actually latching into the female end, make sure to address it immediately. Neglecting the maintenance of your vehicle is not the same as a piece of equipment being manufactured defectively.

For example, in February of 2016 Toyota issued a recall on 1.75 million vehicles. Chief among them being the very popular RAV4 model manufactured between July 2005 and August of 2014. Defective seat belts aren't a tale of yore due to poor testing and technology like the old days. It is still a very real and very dangerous threat to your safety in the event of an accident.

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How to prove that a seat beat contributed to an injury in Texas.

Often, determining how a safety belt is defective is a fact-intensive process that requires the analysis of trained experts, and you will need to retain one to prove that the safety belt was negligently designed or manufactured to the court. It is likely that the auto and/or seat belt manufacturer will also retain their own expert that will attempt to discredit your testimony. Thus, it's important that you retain a Texas products liability attorney who not only has a history of success in defective seat belt cases but knows the seat belt industry and the manufacturing process well enough to defend your case from attacks by the defense.

You need a smart, experienced Texas attorney on your side if you've suffered injuries resulting from a defective seat belt

If you suspect you or a loved one has been injured due to a defectively designed or manufactured seat belt or child safety seat, you need a tough, experienced attorney on your side. In addition to employing a large number of developers and consultants for the purpose of ensuring that their products are safe, seat belt and safety seat manufacturers also employ a large number of attorneys and legal to defeat claims just like yours. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have more than 20 years of experience representing victims of defectively designed or manufactured seat belts and safety seats, and are available any time, day or night, to provide a free consultation regarding your injuries at (855) 326-0000.

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