Believe it or not, a recent survey indicated that over 78% of all drivers are improperly seat belted in their vehicle with improper shoulder belt position which means that in the event of an accident, the seat restraint systems will not perform as they were designed to prevent injury or death. When I first started to drive, I very rarely used a seat belt and as I have been practicing catastrophic motor vehicle accident law and automotive defect law with a concentration on airbag defects and seat back defects, I have learned that it is extremely important to always use a seat belt, as well as properly determine that the seat belt is properly positioned. Many people may not be aware of proper seat belt positioning and may not understand the likelihood of serious and permanent injuries that result from an improper seat belt fit. In many seat belt defect cases that we are called upon to investigate, manufacturers will initially try to state that the victim was not wearing a seat belt and then thereafter, if we can prove that a seat belt was worn, that they will many times try to argue that the seat belt was improperly positioned and the resulting injuries were due to a fault of none other than the victim. Even worse yet, if a child is injured, many defense attorneys will point the finger at the parents, claiming that the parents allowed the child to ride with a belt behind their back or under their arm or against their face and this situation naturally caused the injury.
A properly positioned seat belt is one that should be snugly fitted against the strongest areas of the body. Position seat belts low enough across the hips and pelvis and never across your stomach, particularly if you are pregnant. Position shoulder belts across the chest and across the hips and pelvis and never against the front of the neck or face or under the arms. Allow no more than one inch of slack in shoulder belts and always sit erect with the seat back straight as safety belts cannot work and cause injury in a crash if the seat back is reclined, if your back is away from the seat or if your legs are curled beneath you. It is important to have specially designed child safety seats to protect small children and infants.
The experienced seat belt defect, airbag defect, and Philadelphia car accident lawyers of Reiff and Bily are committed to automobile and motorist safety. For more information, contact us toll free at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.