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Product Liability Lawyer


Virginia beach attorney for product liability casesCars on the road today are designed to be safer than ever before. Safety equipment such as seat belts and air bags allow motorists and their passengers to expect to be reasonably protected in the event of a motor vehicle accident. When air bags or seat belts work improperly or fail to deploy, drivers and passengers can be seriously injured.  If you suffered injuries due to a defective airbag or seat belt malfunction, contact a Virginia Beach product liability lawyer.

Millions of vehicles have defective seat belt or air bag systems. Most people will never have to find out that their seat belt or air bag does not work properly, but for those unfortunate enough to come face to face with these failures, the outcomes can be serious. The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, in Virginia Beach, is dedicated to helping people who have sustained an injury due to a faulty seat belt or air bag.


A seat belt malfunction or defect compromises the safety of vehicle occupants in a crash. Examples of seat belt failures include: 

  • Too much slack in the seat belt, which is known as a retracting error;
  • The seat belt detaching from its anchor points and mounts; and
  • Accidental unlatching. 

Any of these issues can result in severe injuries in a car accident. Sometimes, a seat belt malfunction is an isolated event. Other times, it’s a defect that the manufacturer is aware of and has not taken the proper steps to remedy. Design and manufacturing defects are two of the most common issues that can impact a seat belt’s performance in a crash and cause devastating injuries. 

Design Flaw

As you might expect from the name, a design flaw happens in the design phase. It means the seat belt had a defect from the start. It might be manufactured correctly, but that doesn’t matter if the design is flawed. 

Manufacturing Defect 

When a seat belt has a manufacturing defect, it’s designed properly, but something goes wrong during the manufacturing phase. Perhaps the manufacturer used subpar materials or cut corners in the assembly process. 

Who Is Responsible for a Defective or Malfunctioning Seat Belt?

Responsibility for defective seat belts might fall on multiple parties, depending on the circumstances. The vehicle manufacturer might be responsible if they knew about the defect or should’ve known about it and failed to take appropriate action. If the seat belt manufacturer differs from the vehicle manufacturer, they might also be liable. 

There’s also a chance that a mechanic or repair shop might bear some responsibility. The shop might not have inspected the seat belt after conducting repair work. 

Determining responsibility for a defective seat belt is complicated. It’s best to speak with an experienced Virginia Beach product liability attorney to understand your legal options.


When an airbag doesn’t deploy as expected, one or more vehicle occupants may be left with severe injuries. Like seat belts, the two main product liability issues with airbags are design flaws and manufacturing defects. 

Design Defect 

One example of a design flaw in an airbag is when it is designed to deploy with too much force. This extra force can result in injury, especially if the vehicle occupant is seated close to the dash or steering wheel. Another example of a design defect is when the airbag doesn’t protect the part of the body it’s supposed to. 

Manufacturing Defect

Manufacturing issues concerning airbags typically involve a mistake on the assembly line or a failure to conduct all necessary tests. That means the airbag was designed correctly, but someone made a mistake during the manufacturing process. 

Environmental Factors 

In addition to design flaws and manufacturing defects, environmental factors can contribute to airbag defects. For instance, extreme heat or humidity exposure can cause the airbag inflator to degrade over time. This degradation can lead to a malfunction. Similarly, exposure to moisture or corrosive materials can also cause the airbag to deteriorate over time.

Who Is Responsible for Defective Airbags?

Most of the time, airbag manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers are primarily responsible for injuries you sustain because of a defect or malfunction. Mechanics and repair shops can also be held liable if they installed an airbag incorrectly or failed to inspect it during repairs or maintenance. Speak with an experienced Virginia Beach product liability lawyer to discuss who is legally responsible for your injuries after a defective airbag causes you harm. 


You, your friends or loved ones may not even be aware that serious injury or death resulted from the failure of those who manufacture or maintain these safety devices. The auto industry has known about many of these defects for many years and, unfortunately, few law firms are equipped with the knowledge and resources to evaluate these cases and bring the auto companies to justice.

If you or someone you know has sustained a serious or fatal injury as the result of a rollover accident or partial ejection from their vehicle, please contact the defective airbags and seat belt malfunction attorneys at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, in order to determine if that tragedy could have been avoided. Auto companies know their rights and obligations — make sure that you do as well. Call us to schedule your free consultation, or complete and submit our online contact form. You can also view some of our past case results.

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