Recently, lawyer Larry Coben from the law firm of Anapol Weiss talked with Tracy Davidson from Philadelphia NBC 10 to discuss car seat safety. Mr. Coben has practiced law for over 30 years as a personal injury attorney. One of his most notable cases was won against General Motors in which he helped a client obtain a $26 million verdict against the manufacturer for the passenger’s seat back defective design, which had failed in a rear-end car accident. The defective seat caused the passenger to be thrown to the back seat and became a quadriplegic as a result.
The news clip highlights the potential dangers car seats can pose to all occupants in a motor vehicle during a crash. Many people may not be aware that car seat backs can fail, which entails the collapse of a front seat in a car, which can not only injure the person in the seat, but anyone in the backseat. Engineers believe the poor quality of car seat crash performance is due to the almost laughable car seat safety standards that have been in place since 1968. Manufacturers are required to produce car seats that can withstand a static test of 3,300 inch pounds of pressure. It is a rather flimsy test that essentially just pulls on the seat. The test does not adequately test what actually occurs in crashes.
In the video, engineers tested a beach chair as well as a chair made of cardboard using the same standards that are used to test car seats. Both chairs passed the test.
It should be noted that some car manufacturers do test their seats using more rigorous testing than the federal government requires; however, all consumers need to be aware of the potential dangers car seats can pose in an accident and be aware of the laxity in testing standards. There is no question these standards need to be improved to prevent serious injury from occurring.
Mr. Coben recommends consumers purchase vehicles that have seats where the seatbelt is actually built into the seat itself, as is the lap belt. These types of seats are required to be stronger and can withstand more pressure in a crash. This is because these car seats have to pass stronger tests for the seatbelt.
You can watch the video in its entirety here.
If you have been injured because of a car seat failure in a car accident, talking with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you conclude whether you have a case against a car manufacturer.