I'm so sorry to hear of your losses with this unbelievably unlucky situation. I couldn't imagine being in a wreck like that - and I wouldn't want to. My Father actually owns a CL, just like the one your friend had, but his is a CL 600 instead. I wouldn't drive that car, because I know the capabilities of that engine and how powerful it is. It contains more power than I would ever need, and in the hands of someone with only a normal background of driving experience, it could pose a threat, and be deadly if not under control.
I completely agree with you on the fact that a seatbelt should not be integrated into the seat itself (on ANY car). A seatbelt should be built-in to either a roll cage, directly to the frame somehow, or to a main pillar - something sturdy. When Mercedes-Benz designed the CL, they met all government required safety standards - they HAD to. When AMG added on their upgrades to the CL chassis, they still met government requirements.
In my honest opinion, government safety requirements should be raised - and national safety tests should be tougher to pass, but that's another issue entirely.
The main thing here is the fact that YOU, the only occupant in the vehicle wearing a seatbelt - came out of this crash alive. Yes, you had some major injuries, but you are alive. You can continue to post your theories - and that's all they are at this point - theories. If your friends were wearing their seatbelts - they could have lived too. Your friend in the backseat wouldn't have flown forward towards the windshield, had he been wearing a seatbelt. The excess weight of your friend flying forward at force wouldn't have been posed on your seat - in addition to the force of your body lunging forward due to impact.
The weight of your friend (I assume an average-type weight) accelerating forward at the speed of impact - hitting your seat - that creates a LOT of pressure. That creates a LOT of stress on the inertia lock built-in to that seat. The seatbelt here did it's job - that's why you didn't get a laceration in your forehead due to going through the windshield. That seatbelt kept you in that seat - but the seat itself was forced forward, causing you to come in contact with the dash.
Had your friend in the backseat been wearing a seatbelt, he wouldn't have flown forward and hit your seat. Since your friend wouldn't have come in such contact with your seat - that additional force on the inertia lock or seat in general wouldn't have happened. Without such stress, the seat might have held to its proper position. Those seats are designed to stay locked down in a wreck - they have to be. Only thing is - crash tests don't account for unbelted passengers flying forward from the backseat. If your friend in the back was belted down, the outcome here could've been dramatically different.
That's only a theory. I am in no way stating the above to be of factual evidence - it's only a theory. Thing is, you can't dismiss it either, because you can't 100% predict the outcome of my hypothetical situation - it didn't happen. Nobody knows for sure. I believe it's a valid point though.
The driver on the other hand...
I believe that if the driver had been wearing his seatbelt, he would've lived. He would have injuries - no doubt, but he would be alive. Also, drifting cars around corners, passing a double-line on what looks to be a very dark road, and accelerating enough to cause a downshift to feel so substantial - to the point of having him lose control of the vehicle - sounds to me as if he was driving recklessly. Had he been driving carefully and cruising along at a reasonable speed, this accident would've been 100% preventable. From what you have posted, this accident was caused by pure driver error.
If everyone was wearing their seatbelt, then there would be a good chance of three people surviving that crash instead of only one. The main passenger area of the car seems to be intact. Structurally, the car performed its job very well.
The airbag deployment is tricky, I'll admit. I wasn't there, so I have no idea exactly when the airbags deployed. Only realtime data-log information could provide a precise answer. That's why your argument for the driver and rear passenger in this accident is moot. You don't have SOLID proof to state exactly when the airbags deployed, when your seat "gave-out", or if your seatbelt really failed. You have pictures taken after the fact, some accident reports, and your own word - which doesn't amount to shit in a courtroom.
If the driver had been restrained, he wouldn't have hit that steering wheel so hard as to cause his death. He would've been pinned with the seat - which would've made a significant difference. Even if his seat failed like your's apparently did, that's still somewhat of an extra restraint to slow him down. If the rear passenger had been belted down, then I would've been completely certain of him (rear passenger) surviving that wreck.
While I love my ol' E-Class, I'm not trying to put you - or your theories down in my post. I think you post an extremely valid argument. I'm just saying that, had your friends been wearing seatbelts, the outcome of this accident would've been very different. Theory or not, I would bet on that.
Once again, I'm extremely sorry that you even have to go through all of this in the first place.
THANK YOU, someone else who sees what I see. I don't care who's actually at fault here, or who should be held responsible, all I have continued to say is that your crusade against Mercedes about this accident is supported by effectively no convincing evidence.
Your arguments are all suppositions and assumptions, and while I don't doubt your sincerity, I also have not seen you post ANYTHING that would fully convince ANYONE in a court beyond reasonable doubt that what you say happened actually happened. A terrible thing happened, but you propose an INCREDIBLY detailed sequence of events backed up by your word, and lesser so by some weak circumstantial evidence that also backs up about 300 other theories that are more believable.
You need to step outside yourself and try to view your argument as a third party, instead of discounting everything anybody says in argument with you and getting angry that anyone would dare to doubt your word.
Also, your attempt to prove that an entire series of safety devices in thousands of cars is dangerous by crashing a SINGLE car is flat out preposterous. Even if the car explodes on the starting line, what would that prove?
You need a LOT of cars to do the same thing, I don't see anyone else posting saying this happened, do you?
As E320life was leading to, everything you have said only convinces me more that the accident was caused by the driver.
lets review what you said-
1. No seatbelt
2. emotional phone call causing him distress enough to cry.
4. passing people over a double yellow line immediately prior to accident.
What this says to me is is that a foolish (no seatbelt), distracted, (phone call), reckless (speeding and passing) driver killed himself, a friend, and crippled another.
Your response to this is basically to say that he was too good a driver to lose control. This is a ridiculous argument, Mercedes doesn't have to take you seriously because you DO NOT pose a serious threat. If you got up on the stand with a good cross examination, that argument would be shredded by probably even a legal intern delivering papers. If you lapse back into getting upset and try and make the court feel sorry for your personal situation, you will lose. Heck, if you do everything right, you will lose.
You need to remember that the court does NOT care about you personally, does NOT have compassion for your suffering, and does NOT award damages or penalties based on no evidence. The courts goal is to discover the guilty parties based on scientific analysis of the facts. You standing up there saying this happened and that happened is not a scientific fact. If there were 20 of you saying the same thing, that would be something else. But a single opinion based on the first hand account of a person who freely admits they were SLEEPING during the start of the crash? ridiculous.
EVERYTHING YOU SAY about the driver supports him losing control. The only thing that does not is your assertion that he was too good to lose control, and your assertion that you felt a torque lunge, both of which are completely unsupported by tangible facts, only your word.