Automobile Seat Failure

“Seat-back failure” is one of the main causes of deaths in automobile collisions.  In a serious rear-end collision upon impact, the seat collapses causing serious injuries and deaths.  These serious injuries can be avoided by the car manufacturers if they simply spent more resources strengthening their car seats.

When a rear-end collision occurs, the force of the impact propels the car forward and all occupants are thrown backwards.  Ideally, the seat-back should keep the cars occupants from being ejected, from striking interior car components (dashboard, windshield, gearshift, roof etc.), or other occupants.  When a car manufacturer properly designs car seats (see Mercedes Benz S550, S600 etc.) the seat-back will keep the occupant in a secured upright position.

When a seat-back collapses in a rear-end collision, the following can occur:      

  • Complete or partial ejection from the vehicle
  • Driver loses control of the vehicle
  • Occupants strike interior structures of the car (dashboard, windshield, gearshift, roof etc.) and even other occupants in the car itself- Front seat collapse can cause death to rear seat occupants crushed due to the collapse of the seat-back
  • In a ruptured fuel tank fire case, exits may be blocked due to collapsed seat-backs thereby preventing occupants from escaping the smoldering vehicle

Currently the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 207 Seating System has not been updated in over thirty years.  Why is this relevant?  Because under the current FMVSS standard a seat is only required to withstand a pull of 3,000 inch-pounds applied about the seat-back in a rearward direction.  The current standard of 3,000 inch-pounds pull is wholly inadequate and most reliable (plaintiffs) experts want to strengthen the new standard to a 20,000 inch-pounds.

Back in 1992, Ford Motor Company investigated the deadly seat-back car failure problem and determined that seats can cause serious injuries in rear-end collisions.  Unfortunately, even with this vital information, Ford did nothing to implement any design changes to their car seats.  Several Ford automobiles have a known history of seat-back failure causing serious injuries and deaths.  In particular, the Ford Escort and Ford Explorer have inherently dangerous car seats which have failed due to dangerously defective designs by Ford in rear-end car collisions.

Consumers ask “how can this be that the car manufacturers such as Ford have the money and technology to build and design safer car seats but still do not?”  Unfortunately, we now have to turn and look at our own government’s Federal Safety Standards for automobile seats.  After a careful review, we have concluded that their Federal Safety Standards are too lenient and have not been updated for decades.

General Motors has known for years that virtually all of their front seats were designed to collapse rearward in an impact with a speed change of fifteen miles per hour or greater.  Finally, by 1996, GM knew that seat strength is directly related to occupant safety in a rear-end collision.  Occupant survival depends upon the structure of the front seat which holds the passenger in an upright position.

It is well known that cars equipped with bucket seats have a much higher risk of seat-back failure.  Most of these bucket seats are unable to withstand an impact as low as 15 mph.

Both the Federal Government and most of the automobile industry are failing to protect you, the consumer, from driving vehicles with dangerous defectively designed car seats.  The car seats can be and must be improved by strengthening the car seats and implementing a safer car seat design.  Currently, the car seats are only required to pass a strength test, they are not required to pass a crash test rating system.  A crash test rating system requiring seats to stay upright in a rear-end collision of 55 mph will save lives.

If you or a loved one is involved in a serious defective seat-back and/or back seat failure accident;

  • Insist that a report is filed by the Police Department, California Highway Patrol or Sheriff’s Department;
  • Obtain essential information (i.e., name, address, insurance information, vehicle license number and driver license number of any and all persons involved in the accident);- Photograph the accident scene as well as all visible injuries;
  • Shut up!  Talk to no one about the accident or your injuries other than your attorney or doctor, never to an insurance adjuster or insurance investigator.  Do not volunteer a statement to any insurance company;
  • Sign absolutely nothing without consulting a lawyer;
  • Seek medical attention immediately and keep a diary of your child’s level of pain;
  • Keep all receipts for all medical expenses and/or funeral bills and wage loss records;
  • Be sure that the defective seat and vehicle is kept (i.e., “preserve the evidence”) without the vehicle and car presented you have essentially lost your case before a lawyer can even get started.  At least contact a lawyer to recover the seat and car and make arrangements to preserve the evidence (i.e., the car and seat);
  • Contact the Law Offices of Gary A Kessler an experienced law firm immediately to protect your rights and preserve the evidence!

Demand accountability from the automobile manufacturers and component part manufacturers. We at the Law Offices of Gary A Kessler have handled complex automobile product liability cases for twenty-five years.  We have the litigation experience to handle complex seat-back and backseat failure cases.  We are prepared to front all costs required for the necessary investigation and expert witnesses needed to prepare your case for trial.  Remember, the automobile manufacturers are a formidable foe and must be fought against aggressively.

The laws regarding wrongful death cases are complex and include many facets of the law.  It is vital to surviving family members to seek the advice of an experienced wrongful death lawyer such as Gary A Kessler at the Law Offices of Gary A Kessler to protect your rights and those of your loved ones.

California wrongful death attorney Gary A Kessler and the Law Offices of Gary A Kessler are compassionate and fully understand that you are attempting to cope with extreme grief and sorrow associated with the loss of a loved one.  The Law Offices of Gary A Kessler carefully selects its seat-back and backseat failure cases so that we may give you (the client) the substantial personal attention necessary to obtain a successful result for your case.

The Law Offices of Gary A Kessler is prepared to front all costs required for a thorough investigation and expert witnesses to prepare for trial of your case.  As in all wrongful death and serious personal injury cases, we advance all legal costs to prepare and present our client’s claim, and receive for our services only a percentage of what we recover for our attorney fees on their behalf.  Upon settlement our costs shall be reimbursed to us from the gross recovery.  If there is no recovery, no attorneys fees or costs are owed to our firm.

The Law Offices of Gary A Kessler has the successful track record and reputation for aggressively representing our clients to recover the maximum financial compensation for their losses.  Contact the Law Offices of Gary A Kessler for a free consultation regarding you or your loved one’s seat-back and/or backseat failure case today.

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Gary Kessler, California Personal Injury Lawyer Disclaimer: The California personal injury, wrongful death, swimming pool drowning, boating accident, dog bite, amusement park negligence, pedestrian accident, product liability, aviation accidents, or any other California legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the creation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. The information contained herein is intended for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. All results described on this site were based on the individual facts of those said cases and are not indicative of future settlements. Results will differ from case to case. Please contact Gary A. Kessler, a California lawyer at our California law firm offices in Newport Beach or our San Francisco Bay Area office.

The Law Offices of Gary A. Kessler are licensed to practice in California, District of Columbia & Pennsylvania. Through local law firms with which we have associations, we are able to represent Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases across the United States. Our associations allow us to represent clients"pro hac vice", meaning "for this particular occasion". In order to effectively and efficiently represent the client in these cases, we will employ the local law firms (at no additional cost to our client) to make routine court appearances and proceedings where it is necessary to assist our clients case.