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Injuries related to the slack in a Seat Belt may now raise a claim under Product Liability and or Negligence.

Shoulder harnesses and seat restraints in most modern vehicles today have a alleged defect referred to as "comfort feature." The comfort feature is the slack often found in the seat restraints. In some situations, a automobile occupant may be worse off without the combination of firm lap restraints and slack shoulder harnesses than if they were not wearing a belt because even in slow-speed crashes their upper torso flings forward like a whip, accelerating the speed at which their heads are traveling.

The devices were installed in all GM models made in the 1980's, and a May 1982 company manual made reference to a pre-tension feature that would have remedied the defect at a manufacturing cost of $12.00 per car.

Up until now the information of these seat restraint design defects have been kept hidden from consumers through "protective orders" in at least eight lawsuits around the country. However in the California case of General Motors v. Superior Court, B100758 information of the design defect has been made known. In this case, Susanna Jeffrey was injured when her 1986 Chevy Blazer was rear ended. Since her seat belt did not break or unlock, she and her first attorney were unaware that General Motors was liable when her head hit the steering wheel. Three years later her attorney discovered the "protective orders" that kept the design defects from the public, shielding the auto manufacturer from law suits.

Copyright 1997 - 2010 - Gregory L. Martin, Esq. - All Rights Reserved.

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