Seat Belt Failure and Florida Product Liability
There is no question that seat-belts save lives, but if a seat-belt isn’t working correctly, it can be deadly.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath Florida defective products lawyers have handled many cases involving different defective seat belts. In fact, our firm was the first in the country to convince a court to allow punitive damages against Ford for the design of the RCF-67 (Type 1) seat belt.
The firm helps clients throughout Florida and the United States who have been injured by a defective seat belt. Our firm has thoroughly investigated seat belt restraint systems and we've learned that seat belts are not always as safe as they should be.
Our Florida Product Liability Lawyer is here to assist you
Our litigation against leading automotive manufacturers has led to the recall of unsafe auto products, including seat belts. Shortly after our firm obtained a substantial settlement on behalf of a client, a major manufacturer recalled more than 300,000 vehicle’s to replace the seat belt system.
Our Florida product liability attorneys have handled cases involving the following seat belt defects:
- Slack-Inducing Devices. The buckle stalk on the driver’s side of the 1997 Chevy Blazer and other vehicles incorporated a 10-inch energy-absorbing loop that was designed to deploy during crashes. Unfortunately, during rollovers, the extra 10-inches of slack would allow the occupant to be either totally or partially ejected from the vehicle.
- Inertial Unlatching. This occurs when the seatbelt buckle releases during a collision, leaving the occupant unrestrained.
- False Latching. When the seat belt looks, feels, and sounds like it is locked, but is not actually fully engaged, is “false latching.” This commonly occurs with the RCF-67 (Type 1) buckle when an item, such as a coin, becomes lodged in the seat belt buckle.
- Webbing Failure. Seat belt webbing should be strong enough to withstand severe force without ripping or tearing. Webbing failure can occur due to a defect in the webbing, or as a result of some other vehicle defect, such as a sharp edge of a seat frame.
- Inadvertent Unlatching. Due to a poorly designed, protruding button that requires minimal release force, some buckle designs are prone to unlatching during an accident due to the release button being pushed by either an object or a body part of a vehicle occupant. One such buckle is known as the Generation 3 (Gen3). More than 14 million Daimler Chrysler vehicles including all mini vans produced since 1994 are known to be equipped with this buckle.
- Takata Seatbelt Recall. On May 23, 1995, more than 8-million vehicle's seatbelt buckles were replaced or repaired under a voluntary safety recall campaign as a result of the buckle’s cracking or breaking off which resulted in a false latch, inadvertent unlatch, partial unlatch, or a total inoperability of the buckle.
- Lap Belt Only. During even modest accidents, occupants restrained only by a lap belt may jackknife over the belt and receive serious injuries.
- Shoulder Belt Only. Occupants restrained by this type of safety device can submarine under the shoulder belt causing neck injuries and even decapitation during a more severe accident.
LRSI&F encourages everyone to buckle up.
If you have any questions about defective seat belts or any personal injury matter, please contact us immediately to speak with a Florida product liability lawyer.