When we get into our cars, there are certain features we expect to keep us safe. Seat belts, airbags, and brakes are all in place to help reduce injury in a car accident. So when we learn of malfunctions with these safety features, it causes extra concern. The recent Ford seat belt recall has given rise to many concerns over seat belt safety. In this article we’ll provide information about the recall and South Carolina seat belt law as well as how to get help if you have been in a car accident with a malfunctioning seat belt.
Details of the Ford Seat Belt Recall
Recently, Ford and Lincoln announced a seat belt recall after two injuries were reported. The recall was issued because seat belts in more than 680,000 vehicles were prone to fail during accidents—when seat belts are needed most. The recall indicated that the seat belt anchor could overheat and snap during a crash. The vehicles affected included certain models of the Ford Fusion from 2013 through 2016, models of the 2015-2016 Ford Mondeo and models of the 2013-2015 Lincoln MKZ. Owners of vehicles that are affected will be notified.
South Carolina Seat Belt Law
Seat belts, when working properly, go a long way to save lives. If you have a vehicle that is impacted by the recall, it is important to get the defect fixed as soon as possible to reduce risk of injury on the road. As part of South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety Target Zero initiative, it is the law for all drivers and occupants in a vehicle to wear a seat belt. Studies have shown that seat belts can reduce the risk of moderate or critical injury by up to 50 percent. Since South Carolina enacted its primary enforcement seat belt law (where you could be pulled over by a law enforcement officer solely for not wearing your seat belt), seat belt usage statewide has steadily increased. However, between 2008 and 2012, 1,723 people who were not wearing seat belts in South Carolina died in traffic accidents
Legal Impact of Seat Belt Use
The injury reducing and lifesaving benefits aside, seat belt use can also have an impact on your personal injury case. Because South Carolina law requires seat belt use, those who do not wear them are in violation of a statute. If a person who was injured in an accident was not wearing their seat belt, their potential recovery may be reduced because of legal principles surrounding negligence. South Carolina is a comparative negligence state which means that even if a plaintiff is partially negligent, that plaintiff can still recover if their negligence does not exceed the negligence of others. The recovery will, however, be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence. Thus, a plaintiff who was not wearing their seat belt may have their recovery reduced.
How can an Aiken, SC accident attorney help?
Even when you take all precautions on the road, including wearing your seat belt, it is still possible to be injured in an accident. If you are injured because of a defective seat belt, you may not only have a claim against an at fault driver but may also have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle. If you have been injured in an accident, the lawyers at Surasky Law can help.
Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.