Seatbelts are meant to protect a motorist and passenger in a car accident. When a seatbelt defect causes it to fail in an accident, the defect can cause, or increase the severity of, an injury. Knoxville car accident attorney Mark C. Hartsoe represents victims who have been hurt by defective seatbelts in car wrecks. Mr. Hartsoe is a seasoned personal injury lawyer who will review your case and provide the legal guidance you need to hold the at-fault parties accountable for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.Seatbelt Defects in Car Accidents
A properly functioning and well-designed seatbelt can protect a person from serious injury and death, but a defective one can cause or exacerbate a car accident victim’s injuries. Seatbelt use while driving or riding in a car is the most effective way to save lives and reduce car accident injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Seatbelts reduce the number of injuries and deaths in car accidents by approximately 50 percent.
While a seatbelt can save lives, a defective one can actually lead to more serious injuries or death in a car accident. Examples of seatbelt defects include:
- Inadvertent unbuckling from the force of an accident’s impact
- Belt slack, which can cause a driver or passenger to move excessively in a crash
- Poor seatbelt design, which can cause the belt to shift to more vulnerable areas of the body, such as the abdomen
A defective seatbelt can send a driver or passenger into the windshield or dashboard, or eject a person from a car in a rollover collision. In any car accident, it is important to investigate whether a seatbelt defect caused or aggravated a victim’s injuries.Liability for Seatbelt Defects
Tennessee law allows a car accident victim to hold the at-fault parties liable for their injuries. A negligent driver may be responsible for an accident, but a defective seatbelt may have caused or contributed to the severity of a victim’s injuries. In cases where a defective product caused an injury, a victim can potentially hold a car or parts manufacturer accountable.
Under Tennessee law, an injured person can hold a product manufacturer strictly liable for their injuries. This means that the manufacturer is responsible for the injuries caused by its defective product regardless of how careful it was in the design or manufacture of the product. Pursuant to the Tennessee Product Liability Act, a manufacturer can be held liable for injuries if:
- The product was defective and/or unreasonably dangerous at the time it left the manufacturer’s control; and
- The victim’s injuries were foreseeable and proximately caused by the defective product.
The burden is on the victim to show that the product was defective and that it caused his or her injuries. Product liability claims within a car accident case can be complex, and require a thorough examination of the accident scene, vehicle, medical records, and consultation with experts. If you suspect that a seatbelt defect caused or worsened your car accident injuries, it is crucial that you speak with an attorney who can identify the various at-fault parties you may be able to hold accountable for your injuries.Available Damages
If you were hurt in a car accident, a seatbelt defect may have caused or contributed to your injuries. You can seek compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer of a defective seatbelt. You can possibly recover for your hospital and medical costs, car damage, pain and suffering, and more. Tennessee law sets a time limit on when you can file a claim, so it is important to speak with an attorney to know and preserve your rights.Legal Counseling and Advocacy for Your Injury
Knoxville personal injury lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe will fight for you in your car accident case. Mr. Hartsoe will review the facts of the accident, discuss your legal options with you, and provide the guidance you need to seek compensation for your injuries. He will work towards a fair settlement on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. For a free consultation, call us today at (865) 524-5657 or contact us online.