Most drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S. believe that the rear seats, being away from the windshield and dashboard, are safer than the front seats. This was true back in the 1990s, but recent improvements to front seat safety have made rear seats the less safe of the two. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called rear seats a danger zone.
There are several ways in which rear seat safety is deficient. First, rear seatbelts normally do not come with force limiters, which can provide extra belt webbing as the belt cinches up against the passenger in a collision. Next, rear seats do not come with forward airbags or, in most cases, side curtain airbags. It should be noted, though, that forward airbags are currently in development.
Another issue has to do with the backs of front seats collapsing. In a crash, then, the front-seat passengers may fall back through their seat and hit the back-seat passengers. There was one case where a man driving a 2005 Audi A4 fell through his seat and hit his head against his 11-year-old son’s head. The son suffered brain damage. In 2016, Audi was ordered to pay out $125 million to the family. Still, children tend to be safer in rear seats than in front seats.
A defective automotive product can form the basis for a personal injury claim, as can negligent driving on the part of the other driver in a crash. Whether they are filing an accident claim or a product liability claim, victims (or their family) may want to schedule a case evaluation before moving. A lawyer might hire third parties to investigate the crash and gather evidence. Victims may have their lawyer negotiate, too, and prepare for litigation if a settlement cannot be achieved.