Seat Belt Failure Is Not As Uncommon As You Think

The modern 3-point restraint system was designed by my late friend, Nils Bohlin, for Volvo in Sweden. Nils was a great engineer who used a simple idea to save many thousands of lives. I enjoyed our trips together to auto safety conferences and to his farm near Stockholm where we would spend countless hours discussing seatbelt geometry and latching mechanisms. Unfortunately, car and parts manufacturers sometimes put substandard systems and parts in vehicles.

A case in point is that of a young man, who I represent now, paralyzed as a result of a seat belt latch that failed just days ago. His car went out of control at low speed, and he hit a pole. The latch came loose, and he ended up on the floor paralyzed. This is not a rare event. Just a week ago in a neighboring state, a jury awarded $40 million dollars in a similar incident. The seatbelt manufacturer's parts failed, and the seatbelt came loose.

When such a wreck happens, it is important for the people involved to find an attorney knowledgeable about seat belts and their correct design and manufacturing standards to investigate the case. Delay is dangerous, because evidence is lost if the vehicle is bought by the insurance company and sent to a salvage yard. The latch, belt, and attachment points and D-ring must be inspected and photographed before they are destroyed. Evidence of loading against the belt by the body is crucial to establish the fact that the injured or deceased person was in fact wearing the belt at the time of the accident.

I have investigated hundreds of cases involving seat belts and can say with certainty that preservation of the evidence is a critical component of a successful product liability case.

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