Seat Belt Failure

While seat belts are intended to protect passengers from harm in the event of an accident, defective seat belts are often the cause of serious injury during an auto accident. Seat belt and auto makers have a duty to design and construct seat belts that are crashworthy, or able to withstand the events of a potential accident whilst fulfilling their intended purpose, which is to both keep passengers from colliding with objects in the car and to prevent passenger ejection from the automobile.

When seat belt failure occurs in an accident and results in injury to a person, they have the legal right to seek compensation for their losses and suffering through a legal claim. If you, or someone you love, have been the victim of injuries caused or exacerbated by a potentially defective seat belt, please contact the qualified defective product attorneys at Injury Lawyer Omaha for a free and confidential evaluation of you case. To learn more about seat belt failure, please read on.

Seat Belt Failure Statistics


Unfortunately, seat belt failure is a significant problem that causes serious injury and death to many people in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 3 million people suffer injuries caused by seat belt failure every year. Moreover, approximately 40,000 people die due to this preventable auto defect annually. Experts have found that seat belt failure is one of the prime factors causing serious injury in accidents during which a vehicle flips over (i.e. rollover accident).

The Second Collision

It is during the second collision phase of an auto accident when seat belt failure can cause harm to a passenger. Experts divide collision accidents into two phases: phase one is one vehicle impacting another vehicle or object and phase two is the impact of the vehicle occupants with the interior of the vehicle and potentially other objects (i.e. in the case of ejection).

Just as with other safety devices, a seat belt is meant to minimize the injuries and damage caused in a second collision by reducing or eliminating contact between the passenger and the vehicle’s interior. Seat belt injuries often occur when there is a seat belt design, production or installation defect.

Signs of a Possible Seat Belt Defect include (but are not limited to):

  • More than one belted passenger sustained serious injuries during a collision
  • The injured occupant is unbelted but insists they were belted prior to the accident
  • A belted passenger makes contact with the windshield or is ejected out of the vehicle
  • A belted victim suffers injures in an accident with little vehicle damage
  • A seat belt is found torn or otherwise damaged following an accident

Types of Seat Belt Defects include:

  • Inertial unlatching: when a belt latch releases during an accident
  • False latching: occurs when the buckle feels and appears latched but comes loose during an accident
  • Material or weaving defects in the belt, resulting in tears or rips
  • Seat belt retractor failure: causes the belt to become slack in an accident
  • Poor seat belt geometry (design)
  • Door mounted belts
  • Lap only belt designs

While these are the most common indicators and causes of seat belt failure in vehicle accidents, other circumstances may also indicate that such a defect is responsible for injuries and death. While a number of vehicles have been recalled due to seat belt failure, many people have not been adequately warned and protected from this preventable cause of injury. To learn more about defective seat belts and seat belt failure in vehicle accidents, please contact our qualified and experienced defective product attorneys who can comprehensively examine your case to determine the best way to get you the help you need. Please contact Injury Lawyer Omaha * Injury Lawyer Omaha * Cohn today.

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