You would probably never drive or ride anywhere without fastening your seat belt. Not only is it unlawful to ride without a belt, but using one drastically improves your safety during a car crash.
Most of the time, seat belts work as they should, reducing car crash injuries in drivers and passengers. However, if a seat belt is defective, it can cause or contribute to accident injuries.
How can seat belts be defective?
There are several ways seat belt defects and failures arise. If the belt activated in a previous accident, the stresses it endured could make it fail in future car crashes. Defects also occur during the design and manufacture of seat belts.
Common belt defects include:
- Latch failure. The mechanism fails to lock into place or unlatches in a crash
- Webbing failure. The belt itself is damaged or contains inferior materials
- Retractor failure. The device fails to hold the webbing tight against car occupants
These and other defects often contribute to car crash injuries. For example, if the latch fails, you could be ejected from the vehicle.
How can defects impact your accident claim?
The at-fault driver or their insurer could assert that you did not use the belt properly or that its failure was the sole cause of your injuries. While the other driver may still be legally at fault, the insurer might deny your injury claim regardless.
On a more positive note, you have alternate compensation options if the seat belt fails due to manufacturing or design defects. For example, you may have grounds to file a claim against the manufacturer of the faulty unit.
If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by another driver, and your seat belt also failed, seek guidance. With an understanding of Louisiana injury compensation laws and experienced counsel, you can get the money you deserve after a crash.