Toyota recalls 3 million RAV4 SUVs over seatbelt problems linked to injuries from car accidents

by John Chapman

Toyota has announced that it will recall nearly 3 million RAV4 sport utility vehicles due to seatbelt problems. The company says that the rear seatbelts on the RAV4 could be severed during a crash, making it impossible for the belts to protect passengers from injury. Problems with the seatbelts on the RAV4 have been linked to injuries in at least two accidents so far, including one crash involving the death of a passenger.

About half of the 2.87 million RAV4 SUVs recalled by Toyota were sold in the U.S. The recalled models include the model years 2005 through 2014.

According to Toyota, the problems with the seatbelts on the RAV4 are caused by a design flaw in the metal seat-cushion frames used in the rear seats of the SUV. The company says that in a severe head-on collision, the seat-cushion frame could slice through the seatbelt, leaving passengers unprotected.

Toyota says that dealers will be able to fix the seatbelt problem on the recalled RAV4 SUVs by adding a resin cover to the metal seat cushion frames, which will prevent them from severing the seatbelt in the event of a frontal impact. Toyota estimates that the repair will take between 30-60 minutes to perform at the dealership.

Lawsuits Filed Over Injuries Linked to Accidents Involving Vehicle Crashworthiness Problems

Car and truck manufacturers like Toyota know that any vehicle they sell could be involved in an accident. Because of this, carmakers have a duty to make sure they design vehicles that are safe under all reasonably foreseeable uses, including a duty to design a vehicle that is reasonably safe when a collision occurs. The extent to which a car or truck has been designed to protect the occupants in a collision is called “vehicle crashworthiness”.

Crashworthiness may include several aspects of a vehicle’s design and manufacture, including seat belts, crumple zones, airbags, or other safety features. Lawsuits filed over the crashworthiness of an automobile focus on whether or not the vehicle’s manufacturer is responsible for injuries that occurred during a crash because the injuries may have been caused or made worse by problems with the car or truck.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, it may well be that the injuries were caused or made worse because the vehicle was not sufficiently crashworthy. In order to determine whether you may have a case, you need to retain experienced, qualified legal counsel at the earliest opportunity.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and knowledge to pursue a vehicle crashworthiness lawsuit against any major manufacturer. Our law firm has the financial resources to handle even the most complex crashworthiness case from beginning to end, and is ready and willing to take a case all the way to trial if that’s what it takes to force the auto companies and their insurers to take responsibility for their actions.

For a free legal consultation about your case and to determine whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free legal consultation form and answering a few simple questions about your case.

by John Chapman

John Chapman is a licensed attorney with experience in complex commercial litigation (including securities fraud, RICO, shareholder oppression, and derivative actions) and personal injury litigation.