Seat Back Defect Lawsuit

seat back failure lawsuit

Willis Law Firm Client rendered a Quadriplegic when this GM van seat back collapsed in rollover and rear impact ejecting client. Confidential Settlement

Most drivers never consider the seat back as an important part of a car safety and most occupants of modern SUV, trucks and care believe that the seatback is not defective. But car seats are amongst the most important features in properly restraining the occupants during a collision or rollover accident. Much like a seatbelt system preventing occupants from moving forward in a head on collision, the car seat back is supposed to be designed to prevent the occupants from moving backwards in the event of a rear end accident. When a seat back defect failure occurs, drivers and passengers are often sent backwards into the rear compartment and into the roof where vastly increasing the potential for severe head injuries, traumatic brain injury and death. In a rear end collision or impact, the primary safety restraint is the strength of the seat back and seat frame. In most moderate rear end collision accident the seat back strength is often pushed beyond it design. Seat back frames often bend or stay upright in rear impacts. It is then the seat back defects can be easily observed.

Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and head traumas. These accidents account for around 20% of all traumatic brain injuries. Often enhanced injuries occur in these accidents due to defective design or defective safety system part or component which makes the vehicle not crashworthy and unsafe to the drivers and  passengers. One such defect is the flimsy seats and seat back frames in almost every make and manufacturer that are extremely prone to seat back failure at even moderate speed rear end accidents. One of the reasons for so many failures is the simple fact that The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 207 does not factor in the weight of the occupant in testing whether a seat back is strong enough to be safe.  A heavier or larger person will overload the seat back and failures can happen with devastating results. Seat back strength testing is totally inadequate and the reason for so many deaths and catastrophic injuries in rear impact seat back failures. Even in rear end testing on fuel tanks and fuel systems, the crash test dummies were impacting and breaking the seat backs and landing in the back seat or in some cases impacting solid roof pillars or being ejected out the back window. Only Mercedes, Land Rover, BMW, Volvo and a few others have improved the seat back strength to counter the forces in a rear end collision though seat back experts and engineers calculate that for less than $10.00 seat backs could be dramatically strengthened and failures minimized.

What Happens in a Seat Back Defect Accident?

In a defective seat back design, the frame often bends or breaks allowing the occupant in the deformed or broken seat to be ejected backwards often impacting the ceiling, roof pillars or even the back seat itself. In the event of a rear end accident, the occupants sitting in the rear seats are also at risk of serious head and chest injuries when the seat backs of the front driver and passenger seats fail and the driver or passenger up front is thrown violently to the rear of the vehicle striking the occupants in the back seat or ejected out the back. The defective design of the support bars in place cause them to be weak enough that they break or snap backwards when there is a sudden impact from behind.

Other dangers from seat back defects and failures include passengers slipping out of restraint systems like seat belts and being ejected from the vehicle or tossed around the interior further increasing the potential for death or serious injury. When the seat back fails, the rest of the car’s safety systems in place such as seat belts and airbags are no longer able to benefit the driver or passenger.

Causes of Seat Back Failure From A Defective Design

Defects in seat design are the primary cause of seat back failure accidents. Faulty constructed and flawed installation also increases the potential for seat back failure. Other causes include defective recliner mechanisms and defective and flimsy seat tracks. Outdated and unreasonable regulations in the auto industry allow auto companies to continue producing the same cheap designs and lack of metal used that endanger lives when the cost to upgrade the strength of the seat backs is minimal according to industry experts. Seat back strength testing and heavier gauge metals and more of it, is needed to be able to withstand the forces in a rear end collision and make the seat backs safer.

Additionally, the rear seats on the 2nd row and the 3rd row of SUV and other vehicles are also increasingly failing,  allowing those occupants, usually children to be ejected or thrown back with the luggage or other cargo in the back of the SUV, truck or car. As more cars are designed with folding rear seats, the designs of some folding rear seats are so defective and flimsy and the locking latches are so difficult to engage, they allow for the rear seats to become unhinged or unlatched completely providing little or no protection free to impact the cargo and trunk and contents.

Hold the Seat Back Manufacturers Liable

Automakers have known for decades about the defective design of the seat backs, and frames and just lately after a string a lawsuits is the industry concerned. Seat back failures are a serious problem but only a few of the manufacturers have improved their seat backs to correct the issue and eliminate the defect. In fact industry engineers have informed the car makers for almost 30 years that inexpensive alternative designs are available that would reduce or eliminate the risk of seat back failure accidents but the car makers continue to operate in a for profit manner putting the consumer at risk.

Seat Back Defect Accident Lawyer

If you or your loved ones have suffered a severe and debilitating injury caused by a seat back failure, seat track failure or any seat back defect or failure, then contact, the Willis Law Firm for seat back failure lawsuit evaluation and litigation help.

We are here to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to. In such seat back failure accidents, the need for legal representation is needed to help secure the evidence, investigate the accident, interview the witnesses, secure the defective seat back and frame, gather police reports, hire seat back experts and gather other critical evidence needed to win a defective seat back injury lawsuit.

Call for a Free Case Evaluation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 30+ years of accident and product liability lawsuit experience.

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