We have all propped our feet on the dashboard during long road trips before, because let’s face it – sitting normally in the car gets boring and uncomfortable. Many of us don’t think about what could happen if we got into a wreck someday while sitting in that position. In short, sitting in the passenger seat like this is a bad idea. There have been numerous news stories about how sitting with the feet on the dash during a wreck led to horrific injuries. Meanwhile, other passengers in the car walked away with minimal injuries because they were sitting normally. Below, our legal team breaks down how this sitting position can lead to life-changing injuries during a wreck, and whether or not you can sue for injuries like this.
If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death during a car accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. For decades, the experienced attorneys at Janicek Law have been helping their injured and deceased clients recover fair compensation. They are ready to do the same for you. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation at Janicek Law today.
Why You Should Never Put Your Feet on the Dashboard
Putting your feet on the dashboard may feel like a comfortable and safe position to sit in the car, especially on long road trips, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Below, our San Antonio car accident lawyers list a few of the top reasons why sitting in this position in the car can be potentially life-threatening.
The first (and possibly most obvious) reason why resting your feet on the dash is a bad idea is because there is no way you can put your feet back down before an airbag deploys during a crash. In most modern vehicles, airbags deploy in about 1 tenth of a second with incredible force. This deployment can happen when a car crashes at a speed as low as 10 to 15 miles per hour.
What potential injuries can occur from a rapidly deploying airbag with your feet on the dashboard? Well, it depends on your exact leg and foot positioning. If you sit with your feet on the dash and your knees pointing straight up to the roof of the car, the face can become completely crushed from the force of the airbag. It could force your knees into your eye sockets, potentially damaging your eyes or vision. You could also suffer a severe broken nose. Your hips could become completely dislocated. Multiple bones in your legs could break all at once.
If you’re sitting with your feet and legs flat across the dash, the force of the airbag deployment could force your legs up at an unnatural angle towards the roof of the car. Again, your hips could become dislocated and your legs could break in multiple places.
Lastly, if you sit with your legs in a criss-cross position over the dash (with your knees pointing to each side), you could also suffer major hip joint damage and multiple broken leg bones.
These injuries may not be life-threatening, but they are incredibly painful and can result in long-term disability for crash victims. It may take several months or years of physical therapy to start walking and feel normal again.
Lack of Protection in a Rollover Accident
Another reason why it’s a bad idea to put your feet on the dash is because you would have less protection in a rollover accident compared to if you were sitting normally. This is because the front seat passenger and side airbags can’t do their jobs with your feet and legs in the way. You are at risk of more force and pressure on the head, neck, and whole right side of the body. These potential injuries could certainly be fatal.
Lack of Seat Belt Protection
Lastly, you should not put your feet on the dashboard in the car because you won’t receive proper seat belt protection. This is because the force of a car accident will move your hips and butt forward, which will make the lap part of the seat belt move further up your abdomen. Instead of the lap belt pressing on your hip and pelvic bones in the event of a crash, the lap belt will be pressing on vital abdominal organs like the liver and intestines. This can lead to internal bleeding and overall organ damage.
Other Unsafe Seating Positions in the Car
Putting your feet on the dash is not the only potentially dangerous sitting position in the car. You also shouldn’t sit like this:
- Slouched Over: If your head and neck are slouched forward during a crash, you can suffer far worse airbag injuries than you would if you were sitting up straight. That’s because the airbags will deploy right in your face, forcing your head and neck to whip backwards.
- Leaning Too Far Back can also lead to severe injuries. There will be too much space in between your head and the airbag during a crash. The ideal situation for your body during a crash is for it to move as little as possible in order to minimize injuries.
- Sitting Too Close to the Dashboard or Steering Wheel: If you’re sitting too close to the front of your vehicle, whether that’s your dashboard or steering wheel, you’re going to get hit hard by your airbags. You’re risking facial and skull fractures, lacerations, bruising, and traumatic brain injuries by not scooting your seat back enough in the car.
- Sitting in the “Airplane Position”: During an airplane crash, you’re supposed to sit with your head tucked between your knees in order to minimize injuries. However, this position should not be used during a car accident.
- Sitting Cross Legged: While sitting with your legs crossed isn’t near as dangerous as putting the feet on the dash, this position can still lead to an increased risk of serious injury. The knees, pelvis, and hips can become crushed, broken, and/or dislocated.
- Having an Improperly Adjusted Headrest: Your headrest needs to be in the right position during an accident, or else you could suffer a severe case of whiplash or even a traumatic brain injury. It’s supposed to be at the same level as your head so that your head and neck stay as still as possible in the event of a wreck.
Possible Injuries From Putting Your Feet on the Dashboard
Previously, we have discussed a few of the many injuries you can possibly suffer from putting your feet on the dash. Below, we sum up the potential injuries you could suffer from this sitting position, plus some other injuries that medical professionals and data scientists have seen in real life.
- Facial and skull fractures such as a broken nose
- Traumatic brain injuries: concussions, subdural hematomas, a brain leak of cerebrospinal fluid, etc.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Eye loss and/or vision damage
- Broken bones in the feet, ankles, and legs
- Joint dislocation in the hips
- Seat belt syndrome: internal bleeding and damage to the internal organs
- Amputations of the legs or feet
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
If you suffered a serious injury like this in a car wreck, you may have grounds to take legal action.
How You Should Sit in a Car
With all this talk of how not to sit in the car, let’s go over how you should be sitting in the car. You should sit in an upright position with your feet on the floor and your seat belt strapped on correctly. If you’re the driver, you should sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Passengers should sit at least 1 foot away from the dashboard, or just in line with the driver seat. While sitting this way won’t ensure that you’ll walk away from an accident unscathed, you will suffer the most minimal possible injuries.
Can You Sue for Car Accident Injuries?
Yes, you can sue for any injuries, property damage, and/or wrongful death you suffered in a car accident, especially if it wasn’t your fault and especially if insurance can’t cover all your damages. In order to successfully recover financial compensation from a car accident lawsuit, you must prove the four elements of negligence.
- Duty of Care: Every single person owes each other a duty of care to drive safely, responsibly, soberly, and without distractions.
- Breached Duty of Care: The at-fault driver breached this duty of care by acting dangerously or recklessly.
- Causation: The at-fault driver directly caused the other driver’s injuries.
- Damages: The crash victim suffered a variety of damages for which they deserve fair compensation.
A San Antonio car accident lawyer at Janicek Law can help you prove that negligence occurred in your car crash by gathering evidence such as medical records, pictures of the crash scene, surveillance video, witness statements, police reports, BAC levels of all drivers, and so much more.
Car Accident Damages
A San Antonio car accident lawyer at Janicek Law can help you recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future physical therapy bills
- Expenses for necessary medical equipment such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and other assistive equipment
- Mental health counseling bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the victim can’t complete their normal job duties due to their injuries
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial expenses if the crash resulted in wrongful death
Call San Antonio Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries or wrongful death due to a negligent driver, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit. The legal team at Janicek Law has decades of combined experience in handling both personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. We have helped our injured and deceased clients recover millions of dollars in car wreck settlements. We can do the same for you and your loved one. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.