Today, seatbelts—along with airbags—are one of the central features of motor vehicle safety. Although considered indispensable today, seatbelts are actually a more recent development than many might imagine. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 1968, the federal government first required seat belts to be installed in the front seats of all cars produced in the U.S. (except for convertibles). Yet it was not until 1990 that seatbelts were required in the back seats of cars sold in the U.S., and not until 1992 were seatbelts required in SUVs, pick-up trucks, and passenger vans. Seatbelt designs have also improved over the years, with vehicles including different types of belts—from the lap and shoulder belts (“3-point belt”) found in passenger vehicles to the even more protective four-point belts found in other types of vehicles.
Seatbelts, however, cannot do their job unless they are actually worn by drivers and passengers, which was a struggle in early years. According to the National Institute for Highway Safety, the rate of seatbelt use in Massachusetts from 2003-2010 (although increasing from 61.7%—73.7%) fell consistently below the national average (79%—85%) over that span of years. Fortunately, higher fines, and the well-known “Click It or Ticket” campaign, have increased the rate of seatbelt use in recent years, and studies show the dramatic impact seatbelts have on reducing car accident injuries and fatalities.
Yet despite the protection seatbelts provide, and even when worn properly, seatbelts occasionally fail to protect drivers and passengers as intended, resulting in serious injuries. Accidents involving seatbelt failure can be incredibly severe and cause a host of injuries to a driver or passenger, including chest and neck injuries, broken bones, cuts and lacerations, and brain and spinal cord injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in which a seatbelt failed, you should first seek immediate medical care and then hire an experienced Massachusetts airbag failure attorney at Altman & Altman, LLP, to seek appropriate compensation.
We understand that dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident can be stressful and overwhelming, and our products liability and personal injury lawyers are prepared to represent you every step of the way. If you have been injured as a result of a seatbelt failure, receiving fair compensation is critical to achieving justice and ensuring proper medical care. If a loved one has died in such an accident, you may also be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP, located in Boston and Cambridge, have over four decades of experience and have produced significant recoveries for thousands of personal injury clients.
To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Massachusetts seatbelt failure attorney at Altman & Altman, LLP, call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online. Our phones are answered 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, and we promptly respond to all emails. Please note that we take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis: we charge no fee unless you recover.