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Bisnar Chase: Recent J.D. Power Survey Reveals Lack of Public Awareness of Defective Car Seat Dangers; Low Safety Standards Linked to Catastrophic Injuries

Attorneys say survey results "troubling" considering last year's $24.7 million judgment for quadriplegic woman injured by defective car seat in trial against Johnson Controls.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- (BUSINESS WIRE )-- The auto defects experts at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP ( say a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates reveals a fundamental lack of public awareness about the dangers of defective car seats. What's more, they say today's persistently low industry safety standards enable the design and manufacture of defective car seats that cause occupants to be catastrophically injured or killed at alarming rates.

"What's critically important is safety. Is your seatback going to stay upright if someone rear-ends you? Is your seat going to stay mounted to the floor if someone hits you head-on? The answers to these questions should be the benchmark for quality."

Citing last year's $24.7 million verdict for a quadriplegic woman catastrophically injured by a defective car seat in a trial against Johnson Controls, Bisnar Chase partner and lead auto defects attorney, Brian Chase, calls the survey results - which ranked a Johnson Control's joint venture company at the top of the list - "troubling."

J.D. Power says its 2012 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 74,700 new vehicle owners who were asked to rate the quality of their vehicle seats and seat belts based on whether or not they experienced defects/malfunctions or design problems during the first 90 days of ownership. The two top-ranked companies in the survey were Avanzar Interior Technologies, Ltd. - a joint venture between Johnson Controls Inc. and SAT Auto Technologies Ltd. - and TS Tech Co., Ltd, with 3.3 problems per every 100 vehicles.

The industry average, according to J.D. Power, is 5.5 problems per every 100 vehicles. Chase says that while it's easy for vehicle owners to detect obvious seat problems like material flaws, malfunctioning headrests, faulty adjustment controls or heating element problems, they're completely unaware of the most dangerous problems. These hazards include weak seat backs that easily collapse during minor collisions injuring front and/or rear occupants and faulty brackets that fail to keep seats mounted to the floor during a crash, enabling occupants to be flung around the interior compartment or forcibly ejected from the car.

"What people don't understand is that today's absurdly low safety standards allow car seats with the structural integrity of a lawn chair to be installed in many new cars," said Chase. "What's even more disturbing is that certain manufacturers do just enough to meet those minimum standards. Drivers are literally sitting on ticking time bombs and they don't even know it." Chase says people need to look no further than the large number of auto product liability lawsuits his firm represents that are directly linked to defective car seats, pointing to three noteworthy cases from last year alone. " A jury awarded Jaklin Romine $24.7 million in a trial against Johnson Controls after she was rendered a complete quadriplegic when her defective car seat - a seat Johnson Controls was legally responsible for designing, manufacturing and selling - broke backwards during a rear-end collision, allowing her body to submarine underneath the seatbelt and into the rear compartment of the car where she violently struck her head. She sustained devastating injuries that confine her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. "

Bisnar Chase filed a lawsuit against Nissan after Phillip Bloom was severely injured when his defective car seat broke apart from its floor bracket in a head-on collision, enabling the car seat cushion latching system and restraint system to catastrophically fail. He was tossed about the interior compartment of the 2005 Nissan Xterra in which he was riding, sustaining severe injuries including permanent paraplegia.

In another Bisnar Chase lawsuit filed against Nissan, Brook Boynton was killed when the defective car seat of his 2004 Nissan Murano broke and collapsed backwards, rendering the seat belt useless and allowing his body to submarine out from underneath it. He was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene of the rear-end collision a short time later. "In Jaklin's case, we learned Johnson Controls was well aware of the dangers and risks of weak seats since the early to mid-90s," said Chase. "Because of this knowledge, the company had actually developed a design that was more structurally sound to prevent seats from collapsing in accidents such as hers." Chase says the fact that a Johnson Controls joint venture company ranked at the top of the J.D. Power survey demonstrates a lack of public education and ultimately, a false sense of security. "To say a manufacturer ranks high because it uses quality leathers or because its seats successfully slide frontwards or backwards a majority of the time is troubling," said Chase. "What's critically important is safety. Is your seatback going to stay upright if someone rear-ends you? Is your seat going to stay mounted to the floor if someone hits you head-on? The answers to these questions should be the benchmark for quality."

About Bisnar Chase

Bisnar Chase (/) represents people who have been very injured or lost a family member due to an accident or a defective product throughout the nation from its Newport Beach, California offices. Bisnar Chase has won a wide variety of auto defect cases against most of the major auto manufacturers, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Chrysler and Nissan. Brian Chase is the author of the most up-to-date and comprehensive auto defect book available today, "Still Unsafe at Any Speed." The Los Angeles trial lawyers' associations recently nominated Mr. Chase for a "Trial Lawyer of the Year" award for his success in auto defects cases.

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