Imagine riding in a friend or family member's car. You start to feel tired or just want to relax and decide to recline your seat. You still have your seat belt on and believe you're safe. Unfortunately, a reclined car seat is extremely dangerous, even with your seat belt on.
If you get into a car accident, depending on the direction of impact in the crash, you may be ejected through the back windshield or crushed into the floorboard. This isn't simply conjecture. A study showed that partially reclined passengers involved in a car wreck increased their risk of death by 15 percent. Fully reclined passengers increased their risk by 70 percent.
A common misconception is that the seat belt will restrain you and keep you safe in a crash - not so. You may actually slide under the seat belt and suffer a serious injury.
Most people remain unaware of this potential danger because car manufacturers failed to warn consumers and have neglected this safety risk. To eliminate or lessen this danger, car manufacturers could do any number of things including prevent the ability of the seat to recline while the car is in motion or install a warning light or bell if the seat is reclined while the car is in motion.
The solutions to this recliner problem are not expensive. In fact, they would cost approximately $1 per vehicle. Unfortunately, rather than implement these simple safety solutions, car manufacturers continue to promote this recliner hazard by depicting passengers riding blissfully in fully reclined seats on their commercials, websites and brochures. They have even gone so far as to call the defect a "sleeping function."
If you were hurt or a loved one was wrongfully killed in an accident while they were in a reclined seat, contact an injury lawyer right away. We can discuss what legal options are available to you and whether or not a claim focused on the crashworthiness of the vehicle is appropriate.