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Seat Belt Failure or Failure to Wear a Seat Belt?

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A Las Vegas, Nevada woman died in rollover accident near the airport in Las Cruces, New Mexico according to a story in the Las Cruces Sun News.

Denver Demary of Baudette, Minn. died in a rollover accident on Lake of the Woods County Road Wednesday evening according to a story in the Star Tribune.

In both these news articles the investigating police agencies make the statement that the deceased vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts. I seriously doubt that either of the investigating agencies did any investigation regarding seat belt use in these accidents. In order to accurately determine seat belt use, an investigator needs to have the knowledge of what evidence to look for and then look for it.

There are any number of ways a seat belt system can fail, especially in a rollover accident. Many of the “side release” seat belts are prone to “false latching”. Many “end release” seat belts are subject to unlatching in accidents. We have seen many cases of failures of seat belt mounts, buckles, webbing and grabbers. We have uncovered internal auto manufacturer documents that show that the auto makers had knowledge of these failures. We have settled many cases with automakers where we allege that their seat belt or restraint system failed and caused serious injuries.

Most accident investigating officers will assume a seat belt was not used if a vehicle occupant is not belted into a seat when the officer arrives at the scene. Unless an investigation is done by an expert who knows what they are looking for, an investigator is only guessing that an ejected vehicle occupant was not wearing a seat belt.

The body of the ejected person needs to be examined for evidence of seat belt bruising and marking. The webbing needs to be microscopically examined for grabber marks, blood stains and other marks and foreign objects that would indicate the seat belt was in use at the time of an accident.

If you or a loved my have been the victim of a seat belt failure which caused or contributed to a serious injury or worse, call us, Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-800-259-6373, for an expert evaluation and a no cost to you consultation. Do not just accept the conclusions of the investigating officers.

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