Car Accident, No Seat Belt: What Happens?

The severity of a car accident is greatly impacted by the use of seat belts. The initial impact of a car accident can do its share of damage to a human body, but in reality, much of the damage to the body comes after the initial impact.

If the body is restrained by a seat belt, the damage is mitigated, while many of the more serious injuries and deaths tend to come from human bodies that are not constrained by seat belts and are bounced around inside a car after impact.

The Physics of Auto Accidents

In physics, there is a law that says that an object in motion remains in motion until it is stopped by another object. And this is on display during a car accident. If you were to see an accident happen in slow motion, you can see very clearly the difference with a human body that is restrained by a seat belt and one that Is not.

As a car moves, then hits an object (a wall or another car), you can see the momentum of the car stop. All of the human bodies in the car are also moving at that same speed prior to impact and they are separate from the car, so as the car’s momentum stops, the humans’ momentum continues unless they were stopped by a seat belt. However, any humans not wearing a seat belt would continue their forward momentum until they hit some object – the back of a seat, the dashboard, or the windshield.

As you see these take place, it makes reasonable sense that in 99.5% of accidents, injury and death rates in car accidents are greatly reduced thanks to properly functioning seat belts keeping people in place and stopping momentum before a part of the car does.

How important are these physics? Recent statistics show that more than half of all people who died in crashes in 2015 were not wearing their seat belts.  

The Seat Belt Defense

So what if you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident, though the accident wasn’t your fault? Can you still get damages for any injuries? That is actually a trickier question than you might think.

In about 20 states, there is what is called a “seat belt defense,” which lowers the potential award for a claimant if the claimant was not following state seat-belt laws. In this case, the number of damages for which it may be liable may be reduced because it can be reasonably found that at least some of the injuries by the claimant were a result of not wearing a seat belt and were not from the impact of the crash.

Whether you are at fault in an accident or not, make sure to consult with a personal injury attorney from Memphis Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your auto-accident case and the role that seat belts may or may not play. Regardless of fault, your rights and assets should be protected, just as much as seat belts are designed to protect you from more serious injuries.

The Most Accident-Prone Roads In The U.S.

It may be vacation time for you and your family, and maybe you are considering a road trip for your vacation instead of taking to the air.  There are so many things you can see from the road that you cannot see in the air, but there are also more risks to you and your family on the road that are not encountered at 30,000 feet.

Mapping Out the Risks

If you are going to travel by car, one of the things to do before you hit the road is to develop a map of your course, where you pay close attention to the shortest and quickest routes and look out for construction areas and other hazards. And one of the other hazards you should evaluate is the types of roads you will be driving upon during your trip. There is risk everywhere on the roads, but certain roads and highways are riskier than others, for a variety of reasons.

To reassure the safest path, you should locate these risky roads and find ways to work around them – whether they have a number of blind curves, are dark at night or have speed limits that are above what might be safe for the road or weather conditions.

The Most Accident-Prone Roads in America

To help you with your trip planning, we have listed a few of the roads and highways that are considered the most prone to auto accidents, according to data compiled by various agencies. To ensure safety for you and your family, we suggest that you avoid these roads as much as you can.

  • State Route 99 around Fresno, California.
  • Interstate 45 around Houston, Texas.
  • Interstate 12 in Louisiana.
  • Interstate 10, between Phoenix and the California state line.
  • Interstate 26 in South Carolina.
  • Interstate 95 in Florida. (This has its own attorney; more below.)
  • U.S. Highway 2 in Montana.
  • State Highway 550 in Colorado, between Ouray and Silverton.
  • U.S. Highway 431 in Alabama, from Phenix City to Dothan.
  • Dalton Highway in Alaska. (Made famous on the TV series “Ice Road Truckers.”)

A Dedicated Attorney?

These roads are considered the most dangerous in America based on their historical accident rates and associated risks. But only one road is known to have a “dedicated” personal-injury attorney – Interstate 95 in Florida has a law firm that has auto-accident lawsuits on that highway as the significant brunt of its business.

We always encourage safe travels, so please consider avoiding these roads s much as possible, finding appropriate detours to better ensure a safe trip. If you are in an accident, however, make contact with a quality local personal-injury attorney who knows the roads in the area of your accident and can best represent you with the laws of the state so you are protected as a tourist. Even when traveling, your rights don’t go on vacation.

Are High-tech Dashboards Safer For Drivers?

There has been a lot made about improving safety in automobiles over the last 60 years. From seat belts to air bags to side-curtain airbags to crumple zones to rear-view cameras, there have been many advancements in car design to improve safety and reduce car accidents and accident severity.

There has always been a push to make driving safer by developing software that allows drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel while adjusting the radio, the temperature or setting cruise control. With buttons on the steering wheel or various voice controls, on the one hand, drivers have been able to maintain more physical control of their vehicles.

50% of Driving is 90% Mental

While there is a lot of advancement so drivers keep their hands on the wheel, much of effective driving is a mental process, including processing visual cues in observing traffic, weather and the presence of pedestrians. Distracted driving can occur even if a driver has both hands physically on the wheel. Having a mind distracted can have just as much an effect on accidents as removing hands from the wheel.

Eyes that move from the road to a high-tech dashboard, for example, in order to access certain buttons or actions for the vehicle can still lead to accidents, and they have. Studies recently have found that several automakers have created high-tech dashboards that are the most distracting to drivers, and thus are the ones that might actually put drivers more at risk for accidents.

A Focused Mind and Body

One of the recent studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, has found that the more “infotainment” is placed in easy reach of a driver, the higher the risk for that driver to be distracted. A driver’s hands may be on the steering wheel, but he or she may be accessing GPS, a hands-free phone device, the radio, the heating/cooling or some other aspect of driver comfort, instead of keeping the mind on the road. With so many possible distractions, it is easy for a driver to lose focus and get in an accident even with both hands firmly on the wheel.

Block Out the Noise

The hope is that this research will eventually lead automakers to scale back their high-tech dashboards and simplify a driver’s experience. A driver needs to have both hands on the wheel and mindfully engaged with the road and traffic to ensure safety. These studies are hopefully revealing that automakers may be working too hard on the physical and further taxing the mental part of driving. Find out more about the effects of distracted driving when you contact one of our Memphis personal-injury attorneys to discuss the circumstances surrounding your recent auto accident. It is time to know that hands-free does not mean mind-free.

Defective Airbag: Who Is At Fault?

If you are looking for a clue, look no further than what is going on in the auto industry these days.

We have a reasonable expectation that the airbags in our cars will work properly when deployed in an auto accident, and for the most part they have over the last couple of decades. However, a major crisis of safety has come to the fore that has forced many automakers to recall their vehicles at a hefty price tag – in the billions (with a “b”) of dollars in repairs.

The Takata Recall

Takata has been the world’s leading airbag manufacturer for a wide swath of automakers, foreign and domestic. There are very few airbag systems on the roads that are not made by Takata. So when Takata’s airbag started malfunctioning and having design defects that appeared in 2016 and into 2017, it became a major safety concern.

Millions of vehicles were impacted by Takata’s airbags, which either did not inflate properly or (in the majority of cases) expelled shrapnel into the faces of drivers after the airbag deployed, usually causing scratches and other injuries to the eyes and face. The shrapnel apparently came from inflators that disintegrated inside the bag.

Legal Claims for Defective Airbags

Should your vehicle have an airbag that does not deploy properly, if at all, or has some other defect that causes injury, you may be able to file a claim even if you are not in an accident – especially if the airbag causes injuries that result in time lost from work or causes damage to the vehicle. There is a reasonable expectation that all equipment in a vehicle will be in proper working condition.

If the airbag does not work as expected but you are not injured, take the vehicle to a mechanic or the dealership to get the airbag fixed. If the defect is noticed in an auto-accident situation, make notes of any injuries that may have stemmed from the airbag and work with a local personal injury attorney to consider placing liability on the automaker and the manufacturer of the airbag system when it can be determined that the airbag can be deemed a factor in some of your injuries, if not the accident itself.

A Right to Safety

While owning and driving a car is a privilege, you do have a right to expect safety with the vehicle you have the privilege of owning. If that right to safety is compromised in some way, you should fight for your right to be whole and demand accountability for the compromising of your safety. Have a personal-injury attorney conduct a thorough investigation of your auto accident and determine the role that a defective airbag may play in the accident, and ensure that liability is placed at the feet of the right entities so you can be compensated for the breach of trust.

If you have been involved in a car accident ad the airbags in your vehicle did not work properly resulting in an injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. The team of attorneys at Memphis Law Firm specialize in car accident injuries. Contact us today to find out more information about your case.