Product Liability Attorneys
Seatbelt Failures in Heavy Trucks
The defective H2 seatbelt buckle was manufactured and sold by Indiana Mills and Manufacturing, Inc. (IMMI) from 2002-2004, for use in heavy trucks. Because the buckles were not recalled, truck drivers still rely on the defective buckles for protection.
The IMMI H2 buckles do not latch properly, allowing them to come unlatched during an accident. When a seatbelt comes unlatched during an accident, it is as if the vehicle occupant were wearing no seatbelt at all. Truck drivers and passengers can be ejected causing catastrophic injuries and death. When the scene of the accident involving a defective seatbelt is examined, investigating officers often report that no seatbelt was worn.
A properly functioning seatbelt can help protect vehicle occupants from serious injuries during a crash, including ejection injuries. Serious injuries which can result from seatbelt buckle failure include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
Ejection from the vehicle can result in additional injuries caused by being struck by traffic or being crushed beneath the original vehicle. Ejection greatly increases the likelihood of severe injury or death.
History of the H2
IMMI introduced the H2 buckle in 2002 and quickly began to receive complaints about latch failure. In September 2003, IMMI engineers began trying to correct the problem. The engineers discovered internal documents from the year 2000 that identified the defect and attributed it to improper design. The H2 buckle was given the highest possible severity rating.. However, IMMI did not correct the problem before it began selling the buckles two years later in 2002. The defect was corrected by the end of 2003, but in 2004, the defective buckles were still being installed in new trucks. IMMI began replacing the defective buckles under its warranty program when complaints were made. It did not, however, issue a general recall or inform drivers of the deadly problem.
Defective seatbelts fall under the legal category of product liability. Manufacturers of defective seat belts can be held responsible for injuries caused by seatbelt failure. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident while using a defective seat belt you may be entitled to compensation including:
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future loss of income
- Permanent disability
- Long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Burial expenses
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while wearing a defective seatbelt in a heavy truck accident in Orlando or anywhere in Florida, please contact one of our defective seatbelt lawyers today. We will evaluate your defective seatbelt claim at no charge to you, and if we take on your defective seatbelt lawsuit, we work on a contingency basis (we don’t get paid unless we recover monetary damages for you).