Thursday, October 30, 2014

Settlement for Client who Suffered Paralysis after Defective Seat Collapsed

Atlee Hall recently settled a case involving an unsafe driver’s seat in a passenger sedan, which collapsed in a rear-impact crash, causing our client to suffer spinal cord paralysis.

Our client, who was on his way to work, was properly wearing his seatbelt and was stopped at a red light when his car was struck from behind by a pick-up truck traveling approximately 25 mph. At impact, the driver’s seat collapsed rearward forcing our client to slide up the seatback striking his upper body on the rear seat. This caused a burst fracture to his lumbar spinal cord, resulting in paralysis.

In a rear impact collision such as this case, the seatback is the primary safety feature to restrain the occupant and keep him or her in the safe confines of the seat. Much like a seatbelt system prevents an occupant from moving forward in a frontal collision, the seat should perform the same function in a rear-impact collision and prevent the occupant from striking the interior of the vehicle or being ejected. Seats and their components suffer a variety of failure modes in rear-impact collisions, including breakage of seat adjusters, breaking of the seatback and supports, or separation of the seat anchorage from the vehicle. In this case, after conducting close analysis and material testing of the vehicle’s driver’s seat, we were able to determine that the recliner teeth in the seating system were sheared and broke away under minimal forces in the impact. This, in turn, caused the seatback to collapse rearward, which resulted in the driver slamming into the rear seat injuring his spinal cord.

Click here to read the rest of this success story at Atlee

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