Front car passenger seats and the ability of the seats to collapse during a rear-end accident was the issue in a recent product liability case where a five-year-old suffered permanent injury after a front driver's seat collapsed. According to the young girl's attorney, dozens of children have been injured because of the collapse of front driver and passenger seats.
The young girl's family was stopped in their car at a red light. Another car behind the young girl's family's car approached the red light but did not stop and rear-ended the family's car at 30 miles per hour. The crash was not a major accident but the injuries that the 5-year-old girl received from the crash were. The young girl's injuries were serious because the front driver's seat failed to absorb the impact from the rear of the vehicle and collapsed into the child's head. The young girl experienced injury to the frontal lobes of her brain and now has brain damage.
The family's attorney says that safety standards for front seats have been overlooked for years. Commenting on the failure of the front seats he says, "The front seat occupant becomes the missile that goes back and hits the brain of child in the head." Under current law, there are not any safety standards regarding what can happen to back seat passengers if front passenger seats fail in an accident. An engineer that testified for the family in the product liability case said that the current federal safety standard for seat back strength is antiquated and not strong enough. During the engineer's testimony for the case, the engineer demonstrated that a lawn chair and cardboard seat passed the current federal standards.
Because of the accident, the 5-year-old girl struggles to get dressed and has a hard time frosting cookies with her mom. A jury found in the family's favor, but the company that produced the car seats plans to appeal the decision.
Source: nbcchicago.com, "Collapsing Car Seats Blamed for Injuring Passengers," Lisa Parker, 11/10/10