Grand Junction Seat Belt Injury Attorneys
The three-point seat belt was invented to stop drivers and passengers from being flung around during car collisions. At the time, the two-point seat belt was more commonly used, and it was easy to accidentally slip out of one during an accident. On top of that, few people bothered with a seat belt at all, which was incredibly dangerous. While the three-point seat belt did revolutionize car safety, seat belts can still malfunction -- and even when they perform exactly as they are designed to, they can cause some serious injuries.
Few people consider the injuries that a seat belt can cause, as it is a key safety feature. However, many car accident victims find themselves contending with catastrophic injuries caused by their seat belts. If you have suffered seat belt injuries following an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you are probably in need of a helping hand. Thankfully, we at Peters & Nolan, LLC, can offer just that. We fight for our clients to get the compensation they deserve. For a free consultation, call us at (970) 243-4357 today.
The three-point seat belt is commonly used in passenger vehicles these days, and has played a crucial role in traffic safety since it was invented in the 1950s. Despite over 80 years passing since the three-point belt was first implemented, it has time and time again proven to be one of the safest belt designs, with only a few slight modifications added over the decades. The reason the three-point belt is so well designed is the fact that it holds the entire body to the seat, keeping passengers safely secured even in rollovers or high-speed impacts.
However, that doesn’t mean the design is perfect. In fact, many accident victims have found that their injuries came as a result of the seat belt’s grip on their body. Some common seat belt injuries include:
- Broken ribs and clavicle
- Punctured lungs
- Torn and bruised kidneys
- Fractured skulls
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord breaks
- Bowel injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Deep lacerations
- Crush injuries
While it is certainly better to be kept in place by a seat belt than to be allowed to go flying out of the car during a collision, the human body can only withstand so much force. When slammed against a seat belt, the force of the accident is redirected towards the body, which can cause tears, breaks, and punctures. While these injuries are incredibly serious, they do not compare to the danger of a malfunctioning seat belt.
When a seat belt functions properly, it tightens during a collision, holding the driver’s body to the seat, keeping him in place despite the force of the accident. This keeps the driver from being flung against the walls or windows of the car, as well as keeping him from being thrown out of the car to the pavement. However, seat belts, like all auto parts, can fail. Common seat belt malfunctions include:
False latching: When you fasten your seatbelt, you do so by slipping the latch into the buckle. The buckle should snap into place, holding the latch steady until manually released with a press to the button. In defective seat belts, the buckle may not snap into place at all, leaving the latch undone. The slightest amount of pressure on the seat belt could pull it out of place, leaving you to be thrown from your seat during a collision.
Internal unlatching: On the other hand, the buckle may lock properly at first, but then unlatch over the course of the drive. This would have the same effect as if it never latched to begin with, leaving the seat belt to come undone at any point.
Torn mesh: Seat belts are made up of a thick mesh, tightly woven together. This mesh is designed to be strong enough to withstand high levels of force without snapping. However, if the mesh is made improperly, or unravels, it can weaken the belt, leaving it susceptible to tears and snaps.
Improper mount placement: The three-point seat belt gets its name from the fact that it has three points of contact with the car. Typically, two mounts are attached to either side of the seat, with the third mount anchored slightly above the shoulder on the car wall. If these mounts are not placed in the proper position, it can lead to the belt failing to restrict properly, or to it restricting too much. In each scenario, injuries are likely, if not inevitable.
Locking failure: When enough force is placed on the seat belt, internal mechanisms in the wall mount cause the seat belt to lock into place and not give any more slack. This is essential in keeping the driver or passenger in place during a collision. If this mechanism fails, then the seat belt is all but useless, as the person wearing it will be thrown about the car.
These kinds of failures can lead to serious injuries. For example, if you are thrown about in the car, you can slam your head against walls and windows, leading to serious brain damage. On the other hand, if you are ejected from the car, you will hit the pavement, which can cause deep road rash, as well as traumatic brain injuries and spine damage. These kinds of injuries cost a great deal to treat. Thankfully, by working with a dedicated attorney, you can recover the damages you suffered. The first step, however, is determining just who is liable.
When it comes to seat-belt-related injuries, there are two main liable parties. Which one is liable for your damages will depend on the circumstances around your accident. Was your seat belt functioning as designed, or did it fail? In our experience at Peters & Nolan, LLC, the two most commonly liable parties are:
The at-fault driver: If your seat belt functioned exactly as it was supposed to, keeping your body in place against your seat, and you were still injured, then the party responsible for the collision would be liable for those seat belt injuries. That could be your own driver, it could be a drunk driver, it could even be someone driving a semi-truck. Whatever the case may be, they are responsible for your seat belt syndrome.
The manufacturer: If your seat belt failed, and that is what led to your injuries, then the seat belt manufacturer is the liable party. As a key piece of vehicle safety gear, seat belts should always be inspected before being shipped out to dealerships. Even if the initial collision was someone else’s fault, the injuries you sustained as a direct result of your seat belt failing would be the manufacturer’s responsibility.
We at Peters & Nolan, LLC, understand just how devastating seat belt syndrome can be. When you suffer from abdominal tears or spine injuries or brain damage, you require surgeries, physical therapy, and countless doctor visits to recover. Even then, you may experience debilitating side effects for the rest of your life. No one deserves to be stuck paying for an injury that wasn’t their fault. That is why, if you have suffered seat belt injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should get in contact with an experienced Grand Junction car accident attorney at Peters & Nolan, LLC. Contact us by calling (970) 243-4357 for a free consultation.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.