Seat belt failure is a common cause of injury in an Arkansas automobile accident. Fully functioning safety belts hold occupants securely inside the vehicle and minimize injury. When seatbelts do not work the way they are supposed to or are defective, they can cause a lot of damage. If you have been injured in an Arkansas car accident as a result of seat restraint system failure, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Several types of injuries are commonly associated with faulty or defective seat belts that fail during auto accidents, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia, severe bruises and broken bones. The most common types of seat belt defects include:
- False latching – When a latch fails to lock and the plate pulls out of the buckle. Though auto manufacturers are supposed to sell cars with working seat belts, millions of cars have this defect which is not easily identified. Another problem – older designs have release buttons on the side that were inadvertently hit in some accidents releasing the belt.
- Torn Seat Belts – Occasionally the webbing of the seat belt can tear in an accident. That could indicate that the material was substandard or that something inside the car cut the seat belt webbing.
- Seat Belt Slack – Seat belts operate much like a window shade. A seat belt comes out of a retractor, but when there is excess slack in the belt, which can be introduced unknowingly, the retractor fails to properly lock and the seat belt is now ineffective in preventing the occupant from hitting a dashboard, windshield, or steering wheel.
- Lap Belts – Lap belts alone have been known to do more harm than good by crushing organs and lacerating the spinal cord.
- Child Injuries – For children who are using only a lap belt or who have the seat belt incorrectly positioned on their body, the potential exists for “seat-belt syndrome” or injuries that are caused by the position of the seat belt intended for an adult body. Injuries can occur such as spinal and neck damage, bruised organs, severed intestines, or a ruptured diaphragm. Children who have outgrown a child seat need a booster with a five-point harness to hold them in properly using adult seat belts. Children should always ride in the back seat.
If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of a faulty or defective seatbelt, you should contact an experienced Arkansas auto product liability attorney. Also, remember that the vehicle is the most important piece of evidence in an auto product defect case, so it is critical to preserve the vehicle after an accident so it can be examined for all types of product defects including seat belt failure. Have you been injured due to seat belt failure? Experienced Arkansas car accident attorneys can help.