A recent ABC News report raises the important issue of the dangers of reclining car seats. The article presents the example of car accident survivor Prashant Kumar, who is lucky to be alive after sustaining liver, lung and kidney damage. What caused Kumar’s serious injuries? He was wearing his seatbelt, but his seat was reclined. What Kumar and many others do not know is that when you have your seat in the recline position, you dramatically increase your chance of suffering major or fatal injuries.

Risk of Catastrophic Injury or Death

The reason most vehicle passengers recline their seats is to stretch out or get some sleep or rest. But in the event of a car accident, the trauma can be fatal. The passenger can suffer catastrophic injuries such as chest, spine or even head or neck injuries. Also, being in a reclined position makes airbags and seatbelts less effective in the event of a car crash. Partially reclined passengers who are involved in a car accident increase their risk of death by 15 percent, according to a study cited in the ABC News report. A fully reclined passenger increases his or her risk of death by 70 percent, the report states.

Lack of Awareness

The truth remains that a number of drivers and passengers are not aware of the dangers a reclined seat poses. Why? Auto makers have never made an attempt to disclose these dangers. Vehicle manufacturers continue to make defective car seats that will recline all the way back, knowing fully well that a passenger who is fully reclined during a car crash will very likely die.

Of course, this information is possibly buried somewhere in the fine print of your vehicle’s manual. But, how many of us have the time or the inclination to read our vehicle manuals cover to cover? It is interesting to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal body that regulates the auto industry in the United States, declined to comment on this important vehicle safety issue.

Call for Change in Seat Design

All of the evidence, along with the research and testing done here at the auto products liability law firm of BISNAR | CHASE have consistently shown that a reclined seat significantly increases the risk of catastrophic injury or death – both in front-end and rear-end crashes. Seats should not be designed to recline beyond 40 degrees or so in order to avoid these injuries. It is unconscionable that auto makers develop and market, what are in my opinion, defective seats. They then try to hide behind a warning, which is buried in a several 100 pages long owner’s manual, in order to avoid liability for a seat that they know has the potential to injure or kill.

Did you know about the dangers of a reclined seat before you read this article? We would like to hear your comments and opinions on this important issue.

The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.