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Seat Belt Failure: How Does It Happen?

If you've been injured in an accident or on the job, the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to hold the party responsible for your injury accountable.

Last Updated: 07-26-2023
Written by: Michael A. Rose and Gregory Hach

photo of seatbelt being engagedWearing your seatbelt is one of the smartest actions a driver can take to protect themselves. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.” However, seat belts can be defective like any other manufactured piece of equipment.

Alarmingly, it is not uncommon for seat belts to fail. According to the NHTSA, approximately 3 million injuries and 40 thousand fatalities are reported yearly from seat belts that fail to perform as expected during motor vehicle collisions. During rollover accidents, failed seatbelts are one of the leading causes of serious injury or death. Perhaps one of the most disturbing factors about these accidents is that they are completely unnecessary and preventable.

How can a seatbelt fail? Here are some of the most common factors:

  • Retractor failure – A seat belt retractor is where the belt feeds from and is responsible for locking up during sudden stops. If the retractor malfunctions, the passenger will not receive the protection to prevent serious injury during a car accident.
  • Latch failure – A seat belt latch is the contact point between the buckle and the belt. When the latch malfunctions or come undone with applied force, this could mean serious injury to a passenger during a car accident.
  • Spooling – Spooling occurs when an excessive amount of the seat belt feeds out. This means there is too much belt to adequately restrain the passenger during a collision. The lack of adequate restraint could result in serious or fatal injuries during a vehicle collision.

Often, victims of a serious car wreck are unaware that a seat belt malfunction has occurred. This is why contacting an expert who can correctly identify the signs of seat belt failure after a serious car wreck is important.

Contact a New York Product Liability Lawyer

Vehicle manufacturers must ensure that their seat belts work properly in a collision. You may be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one has suffered serious injury because of a seatbelt malfunction during a car wreck. Contact a New York car accident attorney at Hach & Rose, LLP by calling (212) 779-0057 today.



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