Written by: Allan L. Ziffra, Esq.
When someone runs into the back of your vehicle, certain parts of the vehicle are designed to deform and be crushed as they absorb the energy from the impact, in order to protect the occupants of the vehicles. Certain parts of the vehicle are specifically designed not to deform and crush, in order to protect the occupants of the vehicle. In a reared accident, the seats are specifically designed not to deform because they are critical to protecting the occupant by restraining them and keeping them from being knocked around the vehicle or ejected in a rollover accident.
Seat back failures are a life threatening defect in Auto Accidents. In 1990, estimates show that there were over 1,100 fatalities and 1,600 serious injuries as a result of seat back failures. While seat backs can fail in a number of different auto accident scenarios, the most common is when an automobile is rear ended. When a vehicle is hit from behind, the force of the impact shoves the vehicle forward. As the vehicle moves forward, the occupant is thrown backwards against the seat. When the seat back works as designed, it keeps the vehicle occupant in an upright position, secured by the seat belt. The seat and seat belt work in combination to keep the occupant from striking the vehicle interior or being ejected. When the seat back fails, the occupant is no long being kept in an upright position by the seat, but instead begins to fall backward with the seat. At this point, the seatbelt is no longer holding the occupant securely in the sea t and the occupant can begin to slide up the back of the seat and out of the seat belt.
When a front seat fails and collapses in a rear end auto accident, many dangerous conditions arise to the driver, rear end passengers and other motorists. When the driver is thrown backward in a rear end car accident, their ability to control their vehicle is impaired. This can cause the vehicle to strike other vehicles, pedestrians or other objects, thereby putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk and risking the occupants of the vehicle to additional injuries. When a front seat fails and collapses in a rear end auto accident, the driver can be partially or completely ejected from the vehicle, or strike the interior of the vehicle causing severe head injuries. In addition, other safety devices like head restraints and side curtain air bags may not work as designed and instead of providing safety, they can become dangerous. In addition, a front seat collapse in a rear end accident can cause severe injuries to rear seat passengers and trap them in the vehicle.
When a seatback fails in a rear end accident, catastrophic head and spine injuries can occur. Front seat passengers can strike their head on the roof of the vehicle, the b-pillar that divides the front and back windows, the rear window or the rear seat passenger causing severe or life threatening head injuries. When a front seat fails in a rear end accident, the seat is no longer keeping the lumber and cervical spine perpendicular and straight. When the seat falls backward, the forces applied to the lumbar and cervical spine can become excessive, thereby causing herniated discs, fractured vertebrae’s or spinal cord injuries that can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia.
When a vehicle is rear ended in the State of Florida, there is a presumption of negligence on behalf of the vehicle that runs into the back of another vehicle. That vehicle owner, driver or their employer if they were on the job, are responsible for the injuries caused to occupants of the vehicle that they rear-end. They are responsible for all injuries, even injuries caused by seat back failures. However, the manufacturer of the seat and the vehicle may also be responsible if the seat back failed due to negligent design, installation, testing or using substandard or faulty parts.
If you or a love one has been injured as a result of a rear end accident, call the auto accident attorneys at Rue & Ziffra. Our attorneys handle car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and wrongful death claims throughout Florida and the United States. Call1-800-526-4711 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
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