For decades, parents have believed that the back seat is the safest place for children to ride. Indeed, many states, including New York, have laws requiring young children to be in the back seat. These laws and beliefs are based on safety standards which have not been updated since the 1960s. The fact is that many discount store lawn chairs have stronger seatbacks than many passenger cars on the road today.
In recent years, federal regulators have tried several times to revise these regulations. But each time, automobile manufacturers, who care more about profits than people, have blocked these efforts.
Napoli Shkolnik makes a real difference in situations like these. Our national seatback failure lawyers are dedicated to you and your family. From the first call to the final gavel fall, we never stop fighting for you. Furthermore, the big auto manufacturers do not intimidate us. These companies have unlimited resources with which to fight your claim for compensation. But our seatback failure lawyers know how to level the playing field.
Seatback Safety: A Closer Look
Currently, federal regulations require seatbacks to withstand 3,300 pounds of force in a collision. In the 1960s and 1970s, when most people drove smaller cars and station wagons, this low standard made sense.
Today, many people drive large pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. In rear-end collisions, these vehicles deliver about 14,000 pounds of force at 40mph. That’s almost five times the current safety standard level. Additionally, trucks and SUVs have a relatively high center of gravity. So, they are prone to dangerous rollovers in most crashes.
That 14,000 pound figure assumes the victim was wearing a shoulder/lap seatbelt. Many older vehicles only have lap belts in the back seats. In a rear-end collision, that could mean up to 73,000 pounds of force. That’s like being squashed by six elephants at once. A standard seatback offers absolutely no protection in these cases.
Also, bear in mind that backseat passengers might have the benefit of side curtain airbags, but there are no forward-facing airbags to absorb rear-end collision force.
Updated backseat safety rules are regularly on the National Traffic Safety Administration’s agenda. So, at Napoli Shkolnik, our seatback failure lawyers do not just stand up for you in court. We also fight for victim-friendly laws which help protect you and your family.
Legally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their dangerous products cause. Carelessness, or lack thereof, is only relevant with regard to damages. The only thing that matters is a defective design or a manufacturing defect.
Dangerous seatback claims usually hinge on a design defect theory. As mentioned, the force absorption capacity of most seatbacks is woefully inadequate.
To establish a design defect, our seatback failure lawyers often partner with accident reconstructionists. These professionals use metrics like crush analysis and energy analysis to break down flawed designs for the jury. Crash test videos, computer simulations, and other visual aids often help immensely.
We also work with mechanical engineers. These individuals use metrics like vehicle speed and impact angle to determine if the design was defective.
Other seatbacks suffer from manufacturing defects. That’s especially true in the aforementioned SUVs and other vehicles which feature modular seating. In recent years, several manufacturers have recalled vehicles because of these defects. For example, in November 2018, Honda recalled almost a million Odyssey minivans. These vehicles had defective seatback latches which greatly increased the chance of serious injury.
To establish liability for damages, our seatback failure lawyers work very hard to collect evidence on your behalf. Vehicle manufacturers often try to hide behind the inadequate government safety standards.
Violating a safety standard creates a presumption of negligence. Conversely, following such standards creates a presumption of safety. Exceeding such standards, even by a little bit, often gives jurors a favorable impression of the company.
So, we do not work with just any accident reconstructionist or mechanical engineer. We work with experts who are not just knowledgeable and experienced. They are also good communicators who can break down complex issues in a way jurors can easily understand. This kind of attention to detail often makes a significant difference.
The stakes are very high. Nationwide, juries have recently awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in cases just like these. At Napoli Shkolnik, we have the resources, dedication, experience, and tenacity to put it all together.
Substandard equipment often causes serious injuries in car crashes. For a free consultation with an experienced seatback failure lawyer, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.