Seat Belt Injuries & Litigation Options

The use of seat belts has consistently shown to reduce the number of fatalities associated with car accidents since their introduction as a standard vehicle safety feature. Though research shows they have saved thousands of lives over the years, they have the ability to cause severe damage due to manufacturer errors or other circumstances.

The Centers for Disease Control report that seat belt usage saves the lives of approximately 51% of crash victims according to 2009 accident data. One criticism that continues to plague this research, however, is the theory that accident victims will sometimes report that they were wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash in order to be in compliance with seat belt laws. This means the data on lives saved by seat belt usage is over-reported.

What is extremely disconcerting about the use of seat belts the slim margin of error between a correctly manufactured seatbelt and a defective product. Adults, children and infants can all incur very serious injury from seatbelts that do not work properly.

If you or someone you love was injured in an Illinois auto accident because of a defective seat belt, or you sustained injuries from seatbelt usage, you may have a personal injury claim which entitles you to compensation based on the pain and suffering you endured.

Our lawyers at the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm realize how frustrating and painful car accident injuries can be and we can help guide you through the legal process to bring justice to the responsible parties. We offer free case reviews and we only get paid when we win.

To find out how we can help, simply fill out the “Free Case Evaluation” form located on the right side of this page, at the top.

It is 100% FREE and there is never any obligation to proceed. Your case details will always be strictly confidential.

Common Car Accident Scenarios

Though the specifics of each case will differ there are a few very common situations out of which an auto accident may arise. In each of these cases, outward and internal car crash seatbelt injuries may arise from a malfunctioning seatbelt.

These common types of car accidents include:

Statistically, the rear-end collision is the most common type of accident, and it can happen at low speeds or at very high speeds. In any accident, the force of the impact causes the seat belt to tighten, which can cut or suffocate the person wearing it, depending on their height.

Types of Seat Belt Injuries

The range bodily damage that can result from a seat belt injury is vast, as it may be minor and easily treated or serious and life-altering. The following is a compilation of the most common kinds of seat belt injuries:

  • Welts
  • Bruising
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Whiplash
  • Suffocation
  • …to name a few.

The Illinois Department of Transportation released 2011 crash data that showed 76,207 individual injuries resulting from car accidents throughout the year. The same report cited that safety belt usage had increased from the previous years, from 76.2% in 2003 to 96.3% in 2012.

Though this is a sign that drivers are making an effort to operate their vehicles more safely, it implies that the amount of seat belt injuries will also go up. If you suspect there is a malfunction with any seat belt in your vehicle, have it inspected and inquire about any past recalls on your vehicle or seat belt manufacturer.

Manufacturer error can cause the pretension devices to tighten unnecessarily or not at all. Pretensioners that tighten too forcefully can choke or suffocate a small child wearing their seat belt, even if it is on properly. Conversely, if the vehicle collides and the pretensioners do not tighten the seatbelt will stay slack and the occupant can be launched forward causing severe injury or even death.

Internal Organ Damage Study

Conducted by members of the Department of Science at the North Carolina School of Medicine, a scholarly article titled “The spectrum of abdominal injuries associated with the use of seat belts” examines the incidence of internal injuries crash victims incur when they use a seat belt versus when they do not.

The findings showed that the belted victims incurred considerably more damage to hollow viscus organs, such as the stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, though the unbelted victims experienced more head trauma and death.

Call an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today

Auto accidents can strike at any time, and the Law Firm of Tapella and Eberspacher has years of experience fighting for the rights of their clients who have been hurt by the negligence of a reckless driver or defective seat belt.

With our main offices in Charleston and O’Fallon, IL and also in St. Louis, MO we proudly serve the following areas:

  • Lawrenceville
  • Mattoon
  • Newton
  • Olivet
  • Paris
  • Tuscola
  • Shelbyville
  • St Louis
  • …and most other surrounding towns and suburbs of these areas.

We are also proud to assist accident injury victims in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. To find out how we may be able to help you with your accident claim, contact us at 855-522-5291 for a no-fee, no-obligation, initial consultation. Our intake staff members will connect you with a lawyer best suited in handling your claim after a few initial questions about your accident.

If you prefer to contact us online, simply fill out the ‘FREE CASE REVIEW’ form at the top right hand corner of this page and your claim will be reviewed right away.