For many people, wearing a seat belt is second nature. As soon as you sit down in your car, you probably buckle up without even thinking about it. Just about everyone understands that seat belts save lives. You have every reason to expect that you will be safer in an accident with a seat belt than without one. However, the consequences can be life-threatening when a manufacturing or design error leads to a seat belt malfunction.
If you have suffered injuries due to a seat belt malfunction, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your hospital bills, lost income, and other losses. Working with our St. Louis seat belt injury lawyers can optimize your chances of receiving a settlement or verdict that covers the full extent of your accident-related losses.
The St. Louis seat belt defect lawyers at Sumner Law Group, LLC, have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients who have suffered severe injuries in car accidents. We are ready to put our experience, skills, and resources to work for you.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a compassionate personal injury lawyer from our firm.
Why Do Seat Belts Matter?
Seat belts save lives. The National Safety Council estimates that seat belts have saved nearly 400,000 lives over 42 years, along with preventing countless moderate to critical injuries. Wearing a seat belt can reduce your risk of suffering fatal injuries in an accident by up to 45 percent and can reduce the incidence of serious bodily harm by 50 percent. These figures underscore that everyone is physically safer in an automobile when wearing a seat belt. However, this is only true if the seat belt is free from defects.
What Happens When a Seat Belt Malfunctions?
When a seat belt malfunctions, it fails to provide the protection it is designed to give. Faulty seat belts may completely fail by detaching, breaking, or jamming, leaving occupants unrestrained in a crash. They may also fail partially by stretching too far or locking too late. Even minor defects can cause a seat belt to perform inadequately in a motor vehicle accident.
Seat belt failures eliminate the safety benefits seat belts provide. Unrestrained occupants are likelier to strike interior surfaces or be ejected from the vehicle, leading to serious injuries or death. Defective seat belts that do not properly restrain occupants can also cause them to crash into objects in the vehicle or each other.
What Are the Causes of Seat Belt Injuries?
Several examples of potential causes of seat belt injuries include:
- Manufacturing defects – Errors in the manufacturing process can result from defective materials, improper assembly, and other factors.
- Design defects – These are flaws in the design of the device. Even when the device is correctly manufactured according to specifications, a design flaw could render the device unsafe.
- Worn and damaged seat belts – Fraying, ripped straps or damaged buckles can result from age and heavy use.
- Improper installation – Incorrectly installed seat belts may detach or fail to lock properly.
- Vehicle defects – Issues with the vehicle frame, seat bolsters, or anchor points can affect seat belt performance.
Common Injuries Caused by Seat Belt Malfunctions
Common seat belt injuries for vehicle occupants in auto accidents include:
- Whiplash – Violent back-and-forth movement of the neck causing pain and impairment
- Broken bones – Especially fractures of the ribs, sternum, hips, arms, and legs
- Spinal cord injuries – Paralysis due to damage to the spinal cord
- Traumatic brain injuries – Violent impacts to the unprotected head resulting in brain damage
- Lacerations – Cuts from shattered glass or interior trim
- Internal injuries – Abdominal injuries include bleeding and organ damage to the spleen, liver, kidneys, and other internal organs
These and other injuries from a faulty seat belt can require intensive medical intervention and long recovery times.
Proving Liability in Seat Belt Injury Cases
Successful seat belt failure cases require proving that the seat belt or other vehicle components had manufacturing or design flaws that led to your injuries. Proving liability in these types of cases involves a thorough investigation of the manufacturing and design process of the seat belt and the vehicle. These investigations can be challenging because the manufacturer will mount a vigorous legal defense to deny any responsibility for your losses.
You may also have a claim against the driver who caused the accident. Seeking compensation from multiple parties can make your case even more complicated. Don’t try to fight this battle alone. Our experienced Missouri seat belt injury attorneys have the resources and skills to pursue all avenues of compensation and maximize your recovery.
What Compensation Can I Expect If I Suffer a Seat Belt Injury in St. Louis?
The compensation you receive in a seat belt failure lawsuit will depend on the nature of the accident, the prognosis of your injuries, and the extent of the financial consequences you have suffered.
Seat belt injury claims can seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses – The at-fault party may be responsible for the costs of ambulance services, ER visits, surgical procedures, medications, assistive devices, and other necessary medical treatments.
- Lost income – If your injuries cause you to miss time at work, you may be able to recover compensation for pay you did not receive due to your absence.
- Reduced earning capacity – You can claim compensation for changes in your expected future income due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering – Although the physical and mental anguish you suffer is intangible, you may be entitled to claim financial compensation for the suffering you have experienced since the accident.
Our attorneys are ready to analyze your seat belt injury claim and help you understand what compensation you could recover in your case.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Attorney for a Free Consultation
Seat belt-related injury lawsuits and insurance claims can seem overwhelming, but you do not have to feel alone as you go through this process. Our St. Louis seat belt defects attorneys are ready to explain your rights and work to maximize your compensation.
The experienced legal team at Sumner Law Group, LLC, understands that the aftermath of an accident presents many physical, emotional, and financial challenges. With more than 50 years of combined experience getting winning results for injured people, we are ready to do the hard work on your case so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.