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Understanding the ProblemSeat back failures are rare; however, they occur often enough to raise concern among drivers and the public in general. Although all vehicle seat backs meet federal requirements, seat backs can still fail. Auto manufacturers repeatedly use weak materials and poor designs for their seat backs. Inefficient materials and designs, in addition to improper installation by “experts,” can all contribute to seat backs failing (even if minimum federal requirements are met). In even minor collisions (rear-end collisions), seat backs can fail. The seat backs can suddenly drop back – picture a seat positioned at a 90 degree angle suddenly being in a 130 to 150 degree angle. This occurs in a matter of seconds – while the vehicle is still in motion due to the rear-end collision. The combination of the seat back failing and the force of the collision cause the driver or the front passenger to be launched backwards usually into the rear seats. Being launched head-first into an empty backseat could lead to head or spinal injuries. Being launched head-first into an occupied backseat could still lead to these injuries; however, the occupants of the backseat could also suffer severe injuries, especially considering that the point of impact is normally the head/facial area. Regardless of the specific circumstances, the outcome is likely to be devastating.
Understanding the Specific Duty of CareAs briefly mentioned above, auto manufacturers could be held accountable for the harm caused by seat back failures due to the duty of care that they owe their consumers. All companies making products available for purchase owe their consumers a specific duty of care. What duty of care is owed to consumers? All companies owe their consumers the duty of care to ensure that all their products are completely safe for consumer use. Auto manufacturers, for example, have the duty to ensure that their autos are completely safe to be driven by their consumers; this includes every single mechanism in the auto, such as seat backs. They must ensure that no defects exist in the design, labeling, and manufacturing in their auto as a whole as well as all the elements that comprise their autos. To ensure that every element of their vehicles are safe, auto manufacturers must subject their vehicles to rigorous tests and inspections. Auto manufacturers must also ensure that their vehicles meet minimum safety standards. Time and time again, it has been clear that auto manufacturers are aware of the issue with their seat backs. However, they keep passing federal requirements and they keep providing their vehicles with substandard seat backs. By knowingly failing to do something to ensure that their seat backs do not fail in rear-end collisions, they are essentially breaching their duty of care to their consumers. Ensuring that their seat backs simply meet federal requirements is no longer enough to keep their consumers safe; they must do more.
How can a Duty of Care affect Your Right to Sue?By determining the duty of care that you are owed, it is much easier to understand the importance of a breached duty of care in regards to having the right to sue. When a company owes you a duty of care, they must do everything within their reach to ensure that their products are safe for use (and to ensure that their consumers are not harmed by their products). When their products harm their consumers either through a defect in design, manufacturing, or labeling, they are breaching their duty of care. Examples of breaches in duty of care include implementing poor seat back designs and using weak material, for instance. What does it mean when an auto manufacturer breaches their duty of care to consumers? Because auto manufacturers have a duty of care to consumers, it is possible for them to breach their duty of care and cause harm. When harm is directly caused by a breached duty of care, auto manufacturers could be found negligent and liable for all the harm suffered – leaving victims and their families with grounds to sue. If you would like to learn more about the specific duty of care that you were owed and your right to take action against the auto manufacturer, do not hesitate to contact our law firm and seek the expertise of our knowledgeable lawyers.
You Have the Right to Sue and Receive CompensationAs mentioned above, a breached duty of care could be enough to make you eligible to file a claim against an auto manufacturer. Depending on the specific details of the claim, you might also be eligible to recover at least some sort of compensation. All claims are different, and there is no guarantee of the specific type or amount of compensation that you could receive; however, some of the types of compensation that might be available for recovery might include the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost earning (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Punitive damages
Learn more about your options for compensation by calling (213) 389-3765.Would you like to learn more about the specific type and amount of compensation that you might be eligible to receive? Monetary cannot reverse the harm that you and your family suffered, but it can help you and your family move on with your lives. At our law firm, we will evaluate your claim and help you gain a thorough understanding of the specific compensation that you could recover. Our experts will also aggressively fight for your right to be compensated and will not rest until you recover the compensation that you deserve based on the harm that you and your family suffered. If you would like to discuss your claim with the experts at our firm, do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.