Reclined Seat Dangers: When Buckling Up Is Not Enough

Too many drivers and car passengers assume that they have done their part to keep themselves safe once they have buckled their seat belts. However, under certain conditions, seat belts may not only fail to protect drivers, but they could make injuries even worse. If you were in a car accident and would like to discuss your case, contact Larson & Miller.

The modern three-point seat belt with a lap belt and shoulder belt is designed to work when seats are upright. Every degree the seat reclines increases the risk of injury or death for drivers and passengers.

Auto manufacturers have known about reclined seat dangers for decades but have lobbied federal lawmakers to prevent minimum standards or regulated safety warnings.

If you have been injured in an auto accident while riding in a reclined seat, you may be able to sue the car company for damages. To be successful, you must be able to demonstrate that a reclined seat defect either caused your injury or made your injuries worse.

These lawsuits are often against a large auto corporation that demands proof and technical expertise, so you will need some assistance. An experienced legal team can help you fight for damages to compensate you for your medical bills and other costs.

What Factors Contribute to Reclined Seat Dangers?

Seat belts are designed to lie flush against your chest and lap. However, there are several situations in which a person may recline their seat, putting space between their body and the shoulder belt. When this happens, it increases the risk that the harness will not work as intended.

A driver may recline their seat to be more comfortable while driving, or a passenger might recline to sleep on a car ride. Anyone with a reclining seat could tilt it back to rest while the car is parked.

In a car crash, a person in a reclined seat may be thrown into their restraint, which could break ribs, damage organs, or cause internal bleeding. Furthermore, because a reclined seat causes the seat belt to ride at the wrong height, a passenger may be flung head-first into the shoulder belt, which could cause a broken neck.

Advice If You are Considering Filing a Reclining Seat Lawsuit

Automakers have known since the 1960s that seat belts do not provide adequate protection when car seats are in a reclined position. These companies could take steps to prevent seats from tilting so far back, especially when the car is in motion. They could even install warnings much like those that alert drivers when their car doors are open.

However, auto manufacturers have resisted steps to explain reclined seat dangers and fix the problem.

If you decide to pursue a reclined seat case, you must demonstrate that the car company did not take appropriate steps to offer a safer seat belt and that its design caused or exacerbated your injuries.

Reclined Seat Dangers: Proving Your Case in Court

Presenting a reclined seat case in court is challenging. You will need testimony from experts in:

  • Vehicle design
  • Biomechanical engineering
  • Accident reconstruction

Furthermore, auto manufacturers and insurance companies are likely to fight back. In the past, they have argued that drivers and passengers should have exercised better judgment. They have argued that car companies provide features consumers want but that passengers have an obligation to buckle up safely.

To prepare a persuasive case, it may be wise to invest in professional legal counsel.

Contact Larson & Miller Today If You Are Interested in Filing a Reclining Seat Suit in Missouri

Our firm represents clients around Missouri, and will may be able to put our combined century of experience to work as we fight for you.  If we identify a potential product liability claim such as a seatbelt failure, we may associate with co-counsel versed in that specific product defect to insure you get solid legal representation in your particular case.  Call us today at (417) 890-6677.