Maryland Seat Belt Defect Injury Attorney
When you get in the car, it can be instinctive to buckle your seat belt. After all, wearing a seat belt is the safe choice when you get in a car. We rely on seat belts to get us to our destinations safely every day.
Unfortunately, even with all of the technological advances in car safety features, seat belts may malfunction when you need them the most, causing serious injury. Depending on the defect, any or all of the manufacturers and retailers involved with the development and sale of the vehicle may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit. You only have three years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit, so be sure to act quickly.
If you hope to take on the large manufacturing companies responsible for your injuries, you will want an experienced Maryland seat belt defect injury attorney on your side. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we put our clients first to provide you will all of your options so that you can make the decision that is best for you. Begin your recovery today by calling us at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.
Types of Seat Belt Defects and Malfunctions in Maryland
With all of the new safety features that are integrated into cars, sometimes the complications may have the opposite effect that we might hope. In fact, up to 3 million people are injured because of seat belt failures every year. Below are some of the more common seat belt features that may malfunction and cause injury to drivers or passengers in a collision.
If you have ever leaned forward in a car and felt the seat belt slacken, you know how a tension-relieving system works. the device allows some give on the seat belt in order to give the user a wider range of motion while remaining buckled in. This can make your ride more comfortable, but if the system does not lock the strap in place when the car is involved in a collision, it defeats the purpose of having a shoulder strap at all.
When you reach across to fasten your seatbelt, you listen for the click to let you know that you are ready to go. Unfortunately, just hearing the click may not mean that the seat belt is fastened. In the case of some defective buckles, the seat belt may release upon impact even if you believe that you are properly buckled in.
Some seat belts may actually rip or tear if met with forceful impact. This effect may most often be attributed to the poor or defective material (or “webbing”) used to make the seat belt strap. Always keep an eye out for subtle tears in your seatbelt, as these conditions only worsen with use.
Common Defective Seat Belt Injuries in Maryland
Seat belts are meant to combat the forceful impact that a car accident can have on an unsecured person in the vehicle. Even at low speeds, the inertia created by a sudden stop can thrust the body forward into the space in front of them. Forceful impacts to the head, neck, spine, and torso can cause fractures, internal bleeding, whiplash, and brain injuries.
The most dangerous part of these injuries is that many of them are not immediately visible but can prove serious or even lethal if untreated. If you were injured in a car accident because of a defective seat belt, always seek medical evaluation as soon as possible so that all conditions may be discovered, recorded, and treated.
Liability for Seat Belt Defects in Maryland
If you were injured in a car accident by a defective seat belt, there are three main entities who could be at fault (and therefore liable in a lawsuit): the manufacturer of the seat belt, the manufacturer of the car, or the seller.
Seat Belt Manufacturer
The manufacturer of the seat belt is responsible for the materials used and the functionality of the product. Poor webbing or defective buckles can most often be attributed to the seat belt manufacturer when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. the seat belt manufacturer is also responsible for testing their products extensively and keeping up to date with developments in federal car safety feature requirements.
The car manufacturer must also conduct extensive testing, and is responsible for the design of the car, including how the seat belt interacts with the rest of the car. If the seat belt is not equipped to fit to the car seat or positioned poorly in relation to the passenger’s position in the seat, the car manufacturer may be liable for the resulting damages.
The seller is only liable if the defective condition was apparent upon the sale of the vehicle and the retailer should have noticed. This can be difficult to prove, so the seller is the least likely culprit, but it may still be worth it to name them in your lawsuit.
In any case, it is likely that more than one of these entities is responsible for the damages that you sustained from your defective seat belt injury. Be sure to speak to your Maryland seat belt defect injury lawyer about whom you can and should sue for your injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Defective Seat Belt Injuries in Maryland
The State of Maryland sets the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after being injured due to a defective seat belt at three years from the date of the accident. This time limit, or “statute of limitations,” is critical, and a failure to file your lawsuit within the three years will result in your case being thrown out. There are certain exceptions available, such as where the injured party is a minor at the time of the accident, but you should always contact our Maryland seat belt defect injury attorneys as soon as possible to avoid missing the appropriate deadlines.
Get Justice for Your Seat Belt Defect Injuries in Maryland Today
The experienced Maryland seat belt defect injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are here to help you in your pursuit of the compensation that you deserve. For a free consultation on your case and legal options, call us today at (410) 694-7291.