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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

Design Defect in Seatbelt That Inertially Unlatches


Shane Doe, 25, was driving a 1988 Ford F150 pickup on U.S. Hwy. 385 in Andrews County on July 5, 1995, when the tread on a rear tire separated.  He lost control of the truck, it rolled and he was ejected despite the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt.  Quality Truck Tires II Inc. inspected the tire in question the week before the rollover.

Plaintiffs alleged negligence in failing to identify the defect.  Kumho U.S.A. Inc. manufactured the allegedly defective tire.  Ford Motor Co. manufactured the pickup.  Plaintiffs alleged defective product.  TRW, Inc. designed the RCF 67 seat belt buckle.  Plaintiffs alleged defective design and manufacture of the seatbelt component, claiming that it inertially unlatched.

Defendants argued that Mr. Doe was the proximate cause of his injuries – he was traveling 65 mph in a 55-mph zone passing another vehicle at the time.  Kumho U.S.A. argued that the tire was old and had been abused – it had two patches including one on the sidewall.

Ford and TRW, Inc. claimed the seat belt buckle would not inertially unlatch, contended Mr. Doe wasn’t wearing it at the time.


Mr. Does has approximately $600,000 in past medical, claimed in excess of $1 million in future medical. He was a delivery man for an oil field service company at the time, claimed in excess of $1 million in future lost wages.  Defendants argued limited lost wages – Plaintiff is now in college working on an advanced degree in English.

SETTLEMENT INFORMATION Ford Motor Co. and TRW Inc. settled for confidential amounts. Quality Truck Tires II Inc. and Kumho U.S.A. Inc. paid an additional $1,250,000.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the Houston seatbelt defect attorneys at The Ammons Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Rob Ammons is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, in addition to being Board Certified in Civil Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Rob Ammons’ law practice, The Ammons Law Firm, is located in Houston, Texas. The Ammons Law Firm practice is exclusively personal injury law, handling such cases as tire defects, oil rig explosions, truck accidents, plant explosions, refinery accidents, wrongful death, post-collision fires, seat belt defects, airbag defects, SUV rollovers, and workplace negligence.

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