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IIHS calls for improvements to rear seat safety

Rear seats used to be safer than front seats, but that was back in the 1990s. Connecticut residents should be aware that rear-seat safety has been lagging behind front seats. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has labeled rear seats a danger. However, there are various ways that the safety of rear seats can be improved.

For example, force limiters, which are found on many front seat belts, can lessen the force with which a seat belt tightens against the passenger by providing extra webbing from the belt. Rear-seat passengers may also benefit from forward airbags and side curtain airbags. Some automakers are already developing forward airbags for the rear seat.

On the other hand, issues with the front seat can harm rear-seat passengers. The back of a front seat may collapse, causing the front-seat passenger to collide with the rear-seat passenger. This happened to one family driving in a 2005 Audi A4, resulting in one of the children incurring brain damage. Audi paid the family nearly $125 million in damages back in 2016.

Nonetheless, children are not necessarily safer in the front seat because forward airbags can wind up injuring them. Rear-facing child seats can offer much protection, though drivers should know that child seat laws vary from state to state.

In the wake of a car crash, victims may wonder if they can pursue a personal injury case. A lawsuit may be filed against the other driver or the maker of a defective auto part. In Connecticut, plaintiffs can recover damages if they are deemed 51% or less at fault. Still, their degree of fault will lower the amount for which they're eligible. In their effort to ensure a strong case, victims may wish to retain legal counsel.

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