There is nothing that can protect you and your passengers in an automobile collision better than a set belt. Every year, thousands of people are saved because they were properly wearing a seat belt. According to the Center for Disease and Control, wearing a seat belt reduces the chance of loss of life by 60 percent.
Often times however, seat belt defects occur, resulting in severe injury and even death. To determine whether a seat belt defect caused your injuries answer two question: Where you properly belted, and would the injury be less severe with a properly designed seat belt? If you answered yes to both questions, you may be a victim of a seat belt defect.
In general, during a collision a properly designed seat belt should remain on the strongest body parts, such as the pelvis and shoulder. An improperly designed seat best usually injures other areas, such as abdomen, upper thighs, lower arms, or face. You may prove that the seat belt malfunctioned if you have marks, abrasions, bruising, or other injuries in these areas. It is vital that you take photographs and even video recode all of your injuries shortly following the vehicle accident. Moreover, in order to build a strong case, you must obtain all available information regarding defect investigations, recall, safety standards, crash testing, technical papers, similar litigation, and internal manufacturer’s documentation. Your attorney will conduct an extensive investigation and obtain all of the relevant information.
You should focus on the following these steps if you believe that you were a victim of a defective seat belt. First, you must secure the evidence, which is your vehicle. Do not allow a third party to store your vehicle for you unless it is in an indoor locked facility, and you obtain written confirmation of this. If you do not receive written confirmation, arrange to store the vehicle yourself. You should also document and keep a record of the chain of custody, including all inspections and transfers of the vehicle even by your own experts. Further, never allow any alterations without agreement from all of the parties involved in the lawsuit.
It is also important that you understand defective belts to a certain degree and are aware of the type of defect that took place in your vehicle. Some seat belt defects you may have experienced are belt failure—inadvertent unlatching, poor coupling—the belt slack may have allowed excessive driver or passenger movement, or poor geometry—the belt may have shifted from your shoulder and pelvis to vulnerable areas. You can possibly determine the seat belt defect based on the injuries you sustained, so it is important that you obtain a copy of your medical record. You medical record will assist in determining which party is liable.
If you believe that you are a victim of a defective seat belt, contact an experienced Stockton personal injury lawyer and have your case evaluated. The initial consultation is usually free. Also, do so before negotiated your case with any of the parties involved including your insurance company and the manufactures. Your attorney will help protect your legal right to all forms of compensation, ensure that you are not taken advantage of, and that you are fairly treated during this process. Contact our law firm today for the best legal representation in Northern California.