Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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Rear car seat safety lagging behind front seats

Nevada residents should know that most rear-seat safety has hardly progressed since the 1990s. Improvements in front car seat safety have made rear seats a danger zone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For example, most rear seats lack side curtain airbags to keep passengers from bouncing off hard surfaces. They also lack forward airbags, though these are being developed.

The IIHS mentions two other ways in which rear seat safety can improve. One is the installation of force limiters, which uses webbing in the seatbelt to reduce the force with which the belt tightens against the passenger. Another is the strengthening of front seat backs.

Front seat backs are notorious for collapsing in a collision, causing front-seat passengers to fall through and hit against the rear-seat passenger. In 2016, Audi was ordered to pay out $125 million to a family whose son incurred brain damage in precisely such a situation.

Children are safer in rear seats, though, because the airbags for front-seat passengers may be too forceful to protect them effectively. Rear-facing child seats are important, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents should use them for as long as the child can fit in the seat rather than barring their use once the child reaches an arbitrary age.

When a car accident occurs and victims realize that the other side was negligent, they may be able to file a claim. They may also file a claim against the automakers for a defective seat back or other issues. In either case, they will need to bring together all kinds of evidence: a step that may be best undertaken with legal assistance. A lawyer may prove helpful during the settlement negotiation, too. As a last resort, victims might consider litigation.

John P. Aldrich
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