$950,000 Settlement for Defective Seatbelt Design / Ejection
- Date: Fall 2005
- Settlement: $950,000
- Practice Areas: Automotive Product Liability, Defective Seatbelt Design, Ejection
The firm represented a woman and her daughter in a case involving a 1985 sedan driven by the mother, with her daughter as the front-seat passenger. Although the evidence showed they were both seat belted at the time of the accident, they were ejected from the vehicle during the collision and sustained serious injuries.
At some point, the inferior plastic cover on the driver’s seat belt buckle fell off leaving the release button exposed. Blume Forte’s expert witnesses discovered that the direction of the forces in this side-impact collision caused the driver to roll onto the back of the buckle, pushing the exposed release button onto the seat cushion, which released the buckle from the latch plate.
Over the years of seatbelt design and manufacture, car companies have sought different ways to cut costs on the seatbelts they install in their vehicles. Some of those cost cutting measures have resulted in seatbelts that are more likely than others to release during an accident; at the worst possible time.