A defective product can cause serious harm and even death. This is especially true when the product is something as important as a vehicle seat belt. A product liability lawyer in Long Island at Gacovino, Lake & Associates can explain the law in detail and help you file a claim following a car accident in which you sustained injuries, but it’s good to understand the basics of this type of suit before you begin.
Traffic accidents can be terrifying events that leave lasting physical and emotional scars. In the latest year for which statistics are available, 2010, an estimated 2.24 million people were injured in traffic accidents in the United States, and 32,885 were killed.
In many cases, seat belts – which we’ve come to rely upon as the one of the most valuable safety devices in everyday life – can mean the difference between life and death in an automobile crash.
Safety belts are designed to protect passengers in a crash in a multitude of ways. The primary function is to help prevent the vehicle occupant – whether a driver or passenger – from being thrown from the vehicle in a collision. You’re 25 times more likely to die in a car crash when you’re thrown from the vehicle, according to information from the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA).
Seat belts may reduce the effects of crash forces, too, according to information from the Prevention Institute. When a vehicle hits another vehicle or other object, the occupants’ bodies may continue to travel at the speed at which the car was traveling prior to the collision. This can result in greater impact with the dashboard or other structures within the car. The seat belt works to prevent the occupants from continuing to travel at the car’s prior speed.
Dangers of Defective Seat Belts
A defective seat belt is different from other types of defective product cases because the fact that the belt is defective often isn’t revealed until a crash occurs, at which time it may be too late to avoid the worst. The malfunction of a seat restraint in an accident often leads to serious injury or death because of the violent nature of some automobile accidents. Without protection from a seat belt, occupants of the vehicle may be left with little to no protection.
If you’ve been injured in a crash or someone you love has been killed because of a defective seat belt, you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for damages like:
- medical bills;
- rehabilitative therapy; and
- lost wages.
To determine whether you have a valid case and can file a claim, consult a product liability lawyer.
In Long Island and throughout the state of New York, the statute of limitations for a defective product claim is three years. That’s a generous amount of time, but it’s usually wise to file as soon after the accident as possible, because it’s much easier for you and your attorney to collect evidence for the case. More evidence usually means a stronger case.
When you file a claim, your lawyer can order an investigation in which accident scene investigators and automobile experts conduct an in-depth examination of all evidence to evaluate the seat belts and other parts of the vehicle. Your attorney will also help you through the legal process, including the paperwork required to file a claim, and can keep you informed regarding the progress of the case.
Contacting a Product Liability Lawyer in Long Island
Defective products can sometimes cause serious illnesses and injuries. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills as well as pain and suffering. Speak with a product liability lawyer in Long Island at Gacovino, Lake & Associates today to find out how the law applies to your case. 1-800-246-4878.