Unlike many other accidents, seatback collapses are exclusive to failure within the cabin. Often seatback failure will come with a rear-end collision that propels the driver backward against their seat and the seatback breaks. This type of collapse or failure is leading to many issues with insurance claims and car accident settlements. While it’s true that the other driver causes the crash, it’s not true that they caused the design flaw. However, many manufacturers are doing everything they can to avoid addressing these types of claims.
What is Seatback?
A seatback is specifically the hinge or part that connects the back of the seat, with the seat itself. In recent years design differences in these pieces have caused them to fail when the vehicle is hit from behind.
What happens in a seatback failure is that the driver is propelled forward from the force of the crash. Then, as the car steadies, they are propelled back into the seat. It’s a common effect and the primary issue that leads to soft tissue damage and whiplash. However, when the driver is pulled back into the seat, the force collapses the unit holding the seatback on, and it allows the seat to drop backward.
Who is in Danger?
Because the seat drops backward in the event of a seatback collapse, it’s clear who is at risk: the driver, and anyone sitting behind them. Unfortunately, many children, particularly those in front face car seats, have experience extensive injuries or death because of seatback failure.
The children who are living after surviving these types of crashes have had their quality of life greatly reduced from a very young age. These incidences aren’t what parents expect at all, given that they are frequently told, from many sources, to keep their children in the back seat. Parents are often told that the backseat is the absolute safest, but it seems that it’s not quite true.
Manufacturer and Design Flaws
These design flaws aren’t limited to low-quality manufacturers who create vehicles that are meant to last only a few years. In fact, many of these design flaws are from top-tier companies such as Audi. Over the last few years, almost every major car manufacturer has had some issues with seatback collapse or failure. It’s becoming so common that people are looking for ways to change safety standards.
Not only are these issues coming from design flaws, but from lack of standards as well. The National Highway and Transport Safety Administration has begun performing studies and gathering data; however, they haven’t yet made any changes to their standards. Unfortunately, parents have been pushing for the NHTSA to take action since as far back as the 1970s. It’s clear that the authorities involved here have no clear direction. But still, manufacturers are facing liability cases and claims of negligence regularly.
Product Defect or Car Accident Legalities?
It is difficult to identify which category this falls into. Clearly, these cases always start out as personal injury cases because they are related to car accidents. However, many often evolve into product defects when it comes down to compensation or recovery for the particular injuries from the seatback collapse.
Ultimately, it comes down to the product and the design. This isn’t a mistake made in a factory. These seatbacks are an element of their company’s engineering choices. Many manufacturers have extensively defended their design choices, even arguing that the design could save the driver’s life. However, taking that stance doesn’t get them very far with juries or judges. In fact, the argument that it’s not a product defect is what often leads to a decision that it was negligence. What you need in your case is a lawyer who can clearly define the two separately and determine where the manufacturer stands in regard to defects and design.
Local Attorneys Provide Assistance
Facing off with a manufacturer can take years. But getting started right away is key. Contact Young, Reverman, and Mazzei for guidance on how to begin putting together a case against a manufacturer. It’s possible for those that are up against making these types of claims to feel as if they’ve lost too much.
With a lawyer by your side, you can focus on establishing the impact and value of your claim. Work with key experts, and professionals to showcase why your claim is the value that you’ve set and why you deserve the compensation that you seek. Schedule your meeting for a consultation today.