Gomez Trial Attorneys

Get A Free Consultation Today! 619-237-3490

CBS Seatback Failure Story Prompts Strong Reaction From Legislators

[profileleft]Seatback Failure[/profileleft]We all understand that every time we get into a vehicle, we are taking some sort of risk.  Many of us are particularly aware of potential risks when an infant is in the vehicle.  Obviously, infants are extremely vulnerable to harm in crashes.  This is precisely why infant car seats are not only manufactured, but required in every jurisdiction in the United States.

While car seats have undoubtedly saved lives, it’s another seat in the vehicle that is falling under increasingly intense scrutiny – the car seats used by people riding in the front seat.  Seatback failure has been a big problem for many years.  Unfortunately, few people knew about it until CBS completed some investigative reporting.

Below you’ll find an overview of this emerging and troubling situation.  Contact a San Diego product liability lawyer if you have been harmed because of this problem.

About the CBS Seatback Failure Story

CBS ran a story recently that detailed reporters’ investigation into seatback failure and the harm such a failure inflicts.  Those interested in viewing and/or reading the story can find it here.  Reporters studied details of rear-end crashes that occurred across the country.  The reporters found that seatbacks have a troubling tendency to fail when a vehicle is hit from behind.

Specifically, the seat will collapse backward into the backseat of the vehicle.  When someone is in the backseat, particularly an infant in a car seat, the seatback failure can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.  This is not a defect that most people know about.  We hope that this reporting and other efforts prompt more awareness.

Federal Involvement

Some federal officials are outraged at what they have learned because of this report.  Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal and Representative Diana DeGette in particular are getting involved.  The three legislators are sending a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.  The letter will demand that the agency “take immediate action” with regards to this problem.  The NHTSA has options available with regards to potential action.  Unfortunately, the reporting indicates that there could be other problems that have prevented any enforcement from occurring to this point.

Loopholes and Legal Remedies

Federal law states that automakers are supposed to report seatback failures that lead to serious injuries or fatalities.  Unfortunately, it appears that automakers have not reported a number of seatback failure incidents to the NHTSA for different reasons.  There is a loophole present that allows automakers to not report these incidents to the government.  If a vehicle is more than 10 years old at the time an incident occurs, reporting it is not required.  Automakers also claim that their seats meet safety guidelines, but these guidelines were last updated in 1967.  Given all of these issues, the NHTSA has stated that it does not currently have sufficient data to support changing the safety standard.  The only remedy available to the agency is to levy fines against automakers for failing to report these types of incidents.

Individual Remedies for a Seatback Failure

Unfortunately, given the lack of statistics regarding seatback failure injuries and fatalities and the lack of federal safety standards regarding this problem, it’s difficult to put each of these situations into its proper context.  People who are harmed in a seatback failure incident can file a lawsuit against the automobile manufacturer, and some of these lawsuits have led to positive results for the plaintiffs.  Below are a few examples:

  • Audi – $124.5 Million Verdict – A jury in Texas awarded a family $124 million to a family after an 11-year-old boy suffered brain damage, blindness in his right eye and partial paralysis in a seatback failure crash.
  • Johnson Controls – $8 Million Verdict – A court awarded the family of a little girl who was injured in a seatback failure crash $8 million in damages.  The girl suffered a traumatic brain injury and partial paralysis in the crash.
  • Johnson Controls – $43.2 Million Verdict – A jury awarded a plaintiff more than $43 million in damages after a seatback failure crash.  Unlike the lawsuits above, the driver was injured in this crash.  She suffered a broken neck and was rendered a quadriplegic.

These lawsuits should tell people that there are options available for people who are harmed by seatback failure.  However, defective products lawsuits are extremely difficult to win for several different reasons.  That said, in the absence of any real governmental authority, people who are injured or worse by a seatback failure need to be able to take action to protect their own legal rights.

If this includes you or someone you love, contact the product liability lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Related Content:

Our Process... Easy as 1. 2. 3!

Call Us

We will determine your case and submit

We get to work

You will get regular update from us

Win the trial

Collect your compensation

  • “John helped me find doctors, he referred me to his neurologist, his physical therapist, I mean, anything I needed he was right there, every step of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better result from all of this, I would absolutely recommend Gomez Trial Attorneys.”

  • “During the time I was working with Gomez Trial Attorneys, they treated me very, very well. 100% of the time, they believed me, and they were very compassionate. They felt sorry for what happened and they understood the therapy process.”

  • “They held my hand the whole time and kept me in the loop every aspect of my case which was very refreshing to me. They helped me get my settlement offer as fast as possible and I was able to keep my farm”

  • “The Gomez experience was the best experience it could be for me really, only positive things to say. They really were there every step if the way. Thanks to Gomez Trial Attorneys my dad is able to support my family as a single father”

  • “He opened the door for me to join his firm to help other brain Injury survivors and I never met another firm who is like this who was so understanding and caring who took the extra step and walked the extra mile with their clients and this is the best”

  • “I am very satisfied with the outcome with Gomez and I would definitely recommend Gomez to anybody, we tell people all the time, Get Gomez! They are really thorough with everything and they make you feel real comfortable.”

  • “Just helped us through, guided us through, I kept notes all those years, we had questions all the time and they would always keep us informed of what was going on. They just unlayered it, layer by layer, I’ve never seen anything like them. Thank God for them.”

Get your
free consultation

No Fees Until We Win


24/7 Support & Free Consultation

San Diego

(619) 237-3490

755 Front Street
San Diego, CA 92101

El Centro

(760) 259-2166

301 S 8 street

Solana Beach

(858) 400-4333



(951) 355-7770



(951) 900-3440

2 Better World Cir, Suite 220, Temecula, CA 92590

St. Petersburg

(727) 500-1076

880 21st ave n
St. Petersburg, FL 33704