Child is Paralyzed by Single-Strap Seatbelt


Automotive SafetyThis case involves serious injury following an automobile accident. A family was driving on a highway, while another vehicle was driving in the opposite direction. The other driver was under the influence of alcohol and crossed over into the oncoming lane, crashing directly into the family’s car. A young child was sitting in the back seat of the family’s car and was wearing a seat belt – however, there was no shoulder harness and the seat belt only covered his lap. Due to injuries he sustained during the accident, the child is now paralyzed from the waist down, and the family has had to pay for long-term neuromuscular and functional electrical stimulation to help their child regain control of her muscles. The plaintiffs argue that seat belts without shoulder harnesses can cause these type of injuries, and that the car’s manufacturer should have made provisions to include the shoulder harness when the vehicle was produced.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your background and your knowledge on "seatbelt syndrome."

Expert Witness Response E-008591

I have many years of experience in this field, and I have reviewed cases very similar to this in the past. Much of my career has been focused on improving seatbelt safety, particularly for child passengers. I first studied the impact of lap belts on crash dummies. Witnessing these belts sever dummies in half spurred me to dedicate my career to their eradication. I would be happy to review this case on behalf of the plaintiffs.

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