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seat-back-failure

Seat Back Failure Lawyers

It is an unfortunate truth: A typical lawn chair from Wal-Mart is stronger than the seat back mechanism in most passenger vehicles on America's roads and highways. Defective car seats and failure of ratchet mechanisms have resulted in serious injury, lifelong disability and death.

Consequences of Seat Back Failure

Even relatively minor, low-speed accidents can cause seat back failure if the materials used are inadequate. In the event of an accident, the mechanism holding up the seat can snap, throwing the passenger violently backward. In minor accidents, this can cause serious back injuries or whiplash. At high speeds, however, seat back failure can result in catastrophic head, back and spinal cord injuries.


Most seat back failures occur as a result of rear-end collisions or in rollover accidents. Normally, the seat should keep occupants in a secure, upright position. When the seat back collapses, however, individuals can:

  • Be partially or completely ejected from the vehicle, which greatly increases the likelihood of catastrophic injury or death
  • Collide with other passengers or interior structures in the vehicle
  • Lose control of the vehicle if unable to sit upright, causing further damage
  • Cause significant injuries or even death to passengers sitting in rear seats of the vehicle should front bucket seats collapse

Moreover, when a defective car seat fails, other passenger restraint systems are often rendered totally ineffective, such as seat belts or air bags.


Miller Weisbrod obtained $1.3 million in a defective auto products claim in a case of wrongful death caused by seat back failure. A contingent (percentage) fee charged on the successful recovery resulted in a fee of $520,000.00 and $80,000.00 in litigation expenses, which were reimbursed by the client out of the gross settlement amount.

What Automakers Are Doing — Nothing

Many major auto manufacturers such as Ford or General Motors are aware of the inadequate seat back and bucket seat systems commonly used in their products. Several have faced lawsuits for injuries or wrongful death caused by seat back failure. Despite this however, they continue to adhere to industry standards that have not been updated since 1967.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has petitioned many times to update the standard, which requires that a seat only withstand a pull of 3,300 inch-pounds of pressure. Based on their own crash test rating systems, in which seat backs routinely collapse, the NHTSA is recommending the federal government increase the standard to 20,000 inch-pounds, a far more realistic force in a serious rear-end collision or rollover.


Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the standard remains unchanged due to industry pressure.

Contact Us

We know that the only way to force real change in auto industry safety standards and accountability is to hit negligent manufacturers hard and often. Therefore, if you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries due to seat back failure, we invite you to contact our offices in Dallas at 214.987.0005 to discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced trial lawyer.


We offer free initial consultations to potential clients nationwide. If you are calling from outside the DFW Metroplex, please use our toll-free line at 888.987.0005 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an appointment.