Car Manufacturers Continue to Install Defective Front Seats and Have Done so for Decades

Written By Jaime Jackson

Front seats collapse in rear-end crashes and cause catastrophic injuries.

People would not expect their seat to collapse rearward in a rear-end accident. A defective seat however can collapse, catapulting the passenger or driver into the rear seat where they may strike child passengers or collide with the rear-seat causing catastrophic brain injury, paralyzing spinal cord injuries, or death.

Front occupant seatbacks play a vital safety component in rear-end crashes – no different than the purpose of seatbelts or airbags in frontal impacts. Weak, defective seatbacks can collapse and fail in rear end crashes and cause catastrophic injuries. Commonly, seatback failures catapult front passengers to the rear, or the seat collapses onto the rear passengers and causes spinal or brain injuries.

Manufacturers have known about the dangers of defective seatbacks for decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 207 provides federal standards for seatback strength in rear-end crashes, however, the standards date back to 1968 and are grossly inadequate. Lawn chairs and cardboard boxes have been shown to pass this minimum standard.  Crashes at residential neighborhood speeds can cause seatbacks to collapse and fail.

Anytime anyone has suffered serious injuries in a rear-end crash, potential auto products liability claims as a result of defective and collapsing seatbacks must be explored. People involved in rear-end collisions at low speeds should not sustain paralyzing spinal cord injuries or brain injuries. These are signs of a failed front seat. If the seat remains upright during a rear impact, it will contain the person within the safe confines of the seat and seatbelt system. Once the seatback collapses away, the person can be thrown about the vehicle and catastrophically injured.

Telltale signs to look for as to whether or not there may be an auto products liability claim as a result of a defective or unsafe seat, include any time, someone has sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury, brain injury from head impact, death, or when two occupants from the front and rear seats have collided with one another.