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Gwinnett County Father Reports Vehicle Seat Belts Failed in Fatal SUV Rollover Accident

January 02, 2012

A fatal SUV rollover accident involving a Georgia family raises questions about the possibility of the failure of seatbelts in a rollover accident. Four members of a Gwinnett County family were killed in a fatal Florida SUV crash when the father steered hard to recover control of an SUV when it dropped off the edge of the road causing it to rollover several times before landing on the roof of the vehicle.

Eight family members were traveling in the vehicle and six were ejected from the vehicle when it rolled over. The father's account of the SUV rollover accident conflicts with the initial police report in terms of whether the vehicle occupants were restrained with seat belts. The father who was not driving at the time of the SUV rollover accident indicated that all vehicle occupants were either wearing a seatbelt and/or secured in a child safety seat whereas the police report indicates that only one of the passengers was in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt. The traffic homicide investigation report will be prepared in the next 50 to 75 days, according to Florida Highway Patrol sources.

This tragic accident illustrates the vital role that seatbelts are expected to play in preventing serious injuries and wrongful death in an SUV rollover accident. Six of the vehicle occupants were ejected from the vehicle, resulting in either fatal or extremely serious injuries. When seatbelts are used properly, they reduce the risk of injury by as much as 45 percent. The importance of seatbelt use is magnified during an SUV rollover accident because vehicle occupants may be thrown violently throughout the vehicle, ejected from the vehicle or partially ejected and crushed as the vehicle rolls. The father claims that seven of the eight people inside the vehicle were wearing seatbelts and that his two year old daughter was secured in a car seat. He contends that despite the fact he was wearing a seatbelt when the SUV rolled he ended up lying on the inside roof of the vehicle with his seatbelt still attached.

While seatbelts can fail, particularly in a rollover accident, it would be virtually unprecedented to have all seatbelts in a vehicle fail in an SUV rollover accident. If the father's account of the accident is accurate, this poses an extremely concerning issue. The notion that in a violent SUV rollover accident seatbelts may not function properly and keep vehicle occupants properly secured inside the vehicle is extremely troubling. There are two types of seatbelt malfunctions that may explain the injury suffered in this SUV rollover accident. In an extremely violent impact, seatbelts with the release button on the front face of the buckle may become unlatched during a rollover crash. Another possible explanation is that shoulder harnesses may not retract if they are defective leaving excess tension and permitting vehicle occupants to be ejected from the vehicle.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in SUV rollover accidents in Atlanta or anywhere throughout Georgia or the Southeast, the compassionate and experienced team of attorneys at Montlick and Associates will provide you with a free consultation and discuss your rights to financial compensation to help rebuild your life after a serious SUV rollover accident. Our Atlanta SUV rollover accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.