A jury in Dallas recently determined that the seatbelt system in the 2011 Honda Odyssey is defective. The lawsuit claimed that the design of the seatbelt for the third-row middle seat was defective. The seatbelt design was a two-part system that required the rider to anchor the detachable shoulder strap from the ceiling of the van to the seat and then pull the belt across the users hips before it can buckle. Independent testing performed by an expert found that less than 10% of participants successfully operated the Honda Odyssey’s two-part seatbelt system.
The plaintiff was injured in an accident when the Uber she was riding in ran a red light and was struck broadside by a pickup truck, which caused the 2011 Honda Odyssey to roll onto its side. As a result, she sustained a broken neck and was left a quadriplegic. The jury awarded $37.6 million in damages after it found the 2011 Honda Odyssey’s seatbelt system was defective and also found the Uber driver negligent.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that rear-seat occupant safety has not kept pace with advances in the designs for front-seat occupants. As a result, the study concluded that more sophisticated restraint systems are needed for the back-seats of passenger automobiles.
Unfortunately, it takes years for improved designs to come to market and people will continue to be injured and/or killed due to defective rear-seat restraint systems. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an accident involving a defective seatbelt, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360 or toll free at 1‑800-594-4884.