Car accidents are an all too common occurrence in roads across the United States. As a result, there has been a massive and on-going campaign urging commuters to prioritize traffic safety, particularly through following through on important regulations and policies. One safety practice frequently pushed by both government and non-government organizations is the use of seat belts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, seat belts reduce incidents of serious injuries and fatalities by about half. The website of the Abel Law Firm also points to the numbers gathered by the National Traffic and Safety Administration showing how effective seat belts can be. According to the NHTSA, seat belt use saves approximately 9,500 lives every year.
Seat belt use is a simple way both drivers and passengers can prevent the devastating effects caused by most vehicular accidents. It shows how important such a simple apparatus can be. However, there are also rare occasions when seat belts can cause harm and leave the opposite of its intended effect. This happens when the seat belt installed in a vehicle is defective. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, this happens when manufacturers become negligent and fail to impose more rigorous safety nets.
Defective seat belts are known to cause a variety of injuries. In a collision, wearing a tight or ill-fitting seat belt leaves a person vulnerable to compression injuries in the chest and abdomen. Meanwhile, seat belts that are too loose or are made from weak materials and fail to hold in an impact can lead to a host of serious injuries. When a defective seat belt comes loose, the occupant can end up suffering from a host of injuries typically associated with car accidents: bone fractures, concussions, internal trauma, and spinal cord injury. Depending on the strength of the impact, these injuries can lead to devastating outcomes like paralysis, disability, and even death.
Vehicular accidents happen all too frequently in the United States. However, a growing trend shows how these accidents can quickly become devastating for the victims involved. As reported by USA Today, data shows that hit and run accidents—crashes where the driver at fault flees the scene without providing any information—are on the rise in the last couple of years. The article cites data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing an upward trend in the occurrence of such accidents leading to fatalities. A total of 1,274 fatal hit and run accidents were reported in 2009. The stats rise to 1,393 in 2010 and then to 1,449 in 2011. Personal injury lawyer, Ali Mokaram, would probably note that pedestrians are at most risk to such accidents, since the human body is ill-protected against oncoming automobiles. Pedestrians make up approximately 6 in 10 of fatally injured victims.
Considering these facts, it’s easy to see that hit and run accidents are incredibly devastating and tragic. Even the victims that fortunately survive such a crash are left to deal with life-changing consequences and no party to hold accountable for their suffering. As emphasized by the website of Pohl Berk Attorneys, drivers who flee the scene of a crash leave their vulnerable victims to face the initial damage alone. To make matters worse, it could be extremely challenging to find any information that can help identify the offending driver. As such, it’s extremely important to get the police to respond to the accident right away. Victims that have not been severely injured by the accident should also try their best to gather as many identifying details about the driver responsible for the crash. Anything from the clothes they have on to a few digits of their license plate number can prove to be helpful for police officers responding to the emergency.
Another step in the process could be to contact a legal professional. Victims and their families have legal options that can help them find closure and hold the driver responsible for damages they’ve incurred. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help victims and their families recover losses through compensation for medical costs, funeral services, and other financial burdens that come from such a devastating situation.