Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a car accident. But what happens if that seat belt fails? At Urban & Taylor, our Milwaukee seat belt failure lawyers are prepared to answer that question and provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
How Do Seat Belts Work?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and cut the risk of serious injury by nearly 50 percent. Seat belts save thousands of lives each year, which is why it’s so important to make sure you and your passengers are buckled properly before putting your car in drive.
In the average car, the seat belt system contains a belt webbing (the part that goes across your body) that is connected to a retractor mechanism. Inside the retractor, a spool is attached to one end of the webbing. When you pull the webbing out, the spool rotates to allow you to buckle the belt.
The retractor has a locking mechanism that is designed to protect you if you’re in an accident. The locking mechanism is triggered by the car’s movement or the belt’s movement. When your vehicle rapidly decelerates, like if another car hits you, the webbing tightens and prevents you from flying forward.
When a seat belt fails during an auto wreck, the victim is put at risk for making impact with the interior of the vehicle or exiting the vehicle through the windshield.
Why Do Seat Belts Fail?
Design, manufacturing, and installation errors can lead to your vehicle having faulty seat belts. Below you’ll find a list of the most common seat belt defects.
- False Latching. Even if your seat belt feels secure, there’s a chance the buckle is not fully engaged with the lock mechanism.
- Inertial Unlatching. While most auto manufacturers claim unlatching cannot happen, there have been cases where a seat belt has become unbuckled during an accident because of the force of the collision.
- Poorly-Mounted Systems. Seat belt anchor systems are most effective when mounted to the vehicle’s seats because the seat and seat belt must function together. If the system is mounted somewhere else, the effectiveness can be compromised.
- Retractor Failure. If the seat belt retractor fails, it’s likely the webbing will go slack in the event of an accident, instead of tightening.
- Webbing Defects. The belt that crosses your body is constructed to withstand tremendous force, so if the webbing tears for any reason or begins to wear, it’s defective.
Unfortunately, often times seat belt failure isn’t detected until it’s too late. Our legal team can help you determine why your seat belt failed. In many cases, the following signs may indicate there was a defect with your seat belt:
- Your seat belt was found to be loose after the accident.
- One person wearing a seat belt walked away with insignificant injuries, while another person wearing a seat belt in the same vehicle suffered major injuries.
- You know you were wearing a seat belt when the accident occurred, but it was not latched afterward.
- There are visible rips or wears in the webbing.
- The front seat occupant made contact with the windshield.
What Injuries Are Associated with Seat Belt Failures?
The injuries a person sustains as a result of a defective seat belt would have been avoided if the seat belt had been installed properly. Many of the preventable injuries are sustained on the upper body. Drivers and passengers may suffer from the following injuries in the event of a seat belt failure:
- Severe whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Limb injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial and head fractures
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring
- Orthopedic trauma
- Wrongful death
How Can a Milwaukee Seat Belt Failure Lawyer Help You?
In the event your seat belt fails in a collision in Wisconsin, our Milwaukee car accident injury attorneys can help you hold the negligent party accountable for the physical, mental, and financial damages you’ve sustained.
It can be difficult to prove who is at fault for your injuries when your seat belt has failed; however, our product liability lawyers have years of experience handling cases like this. We can help you build a strong case to support your claim, so you can focus on your recovery. If you’ve lost a loved one as a result of a defective seat belt, our wrongful death lawyers can help you, as well. Contact us today to learn about your legal rights and options.