Child Seats and Potential Civil Liabiltiy - Personal Injury Legal Blogs Posted by Anthony Gary Bell, Jr. - Lawyers.com

Child Seats and Potential Civil Liabiltiy

An injured child in a car accident is a parent’s worst nightmare.  This is particularly the case when the child was properly restrained by the parent in their child safety seats.  Despite heavy regulation and years of industry existence, child safety seats are still malfunctioning and causing serious injuries.  In fact, according to data collected in 2006, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for children between the ages of 3 and 14.  In 2008 alone, an average of four children a day in that age group were killed in motor vehicle crashes.  Often these injuries are caused and/or exacerbated by the use of faulty or poorly designed/manufactured child safety seats.  The proper avenue for pursuing claims against the designers/manufacturers/distributors of these seats is under the legal doctrine of products liability.

Notably, design and manufacturing defects as well as improper installation caused by hard-to-follow instructions often cause severe injuries to the children in these seats.  Despite these facts, child seat manufacturers often deny liability and refuse to pay on valid claims.

Look out for Common Defects/Flaws

It is important to note at the outset that every child safety case is different, often involving distinct faulty apparatus of the safety seat, problems with installation, and/or issues with the accompanying directions.  That being said, there are a few common design flaws/defects that you and your attorney should look out for.

First, some seats are equipped with three-point harnesses (two shoulder straps and one crotch strap).  This setup often leads to child ejection from the seat during severe, high-speed accidents.  Some child safety seats are also equipped with a tray shield, an apparatus that can seriously injure the child if the tray breaks off and strikes the child or if the child strikes the tray in the crash.  Another common design, the T-Shield, can cause injury to the child’s throat if their neck strikes the t-shield during the crash.  Additionally, improper or inadequate padding on the safety seat can also cause severe injury.  Other common defects include: excessive head excursion, vehicle incompatibility, low-shield booster seats, snap-in vehicle base, and the absence of the required tether strap.

In addition to design defect cases, there is also the likelihood of finding a defect in the manufacturing of the child safety seat.  Common flaws are found in the structural integrity of the seat, the buckles and harnesses that actually strap the child in, as well as in the safety labels and instructions attached to the seats.  Please see the resources section below to find a great resource for child safety seat recalls.

Finally, the designers/manufacturers can be held liable for deficient warnings and/or safety instructions.  Notably, studies have shown that the majority of all child safety seats are improperly installed.

To find out more about child safety seat products liability litigation please visit some of the links cited below.  Also, if your child has been injured in a car accident where he/she was in a car seat, call the attorneys at Bell & Pollock, P.C. to ensure that any potential claim against the designers/manufacturers/distributors of these seats is properly made.

Resources

To find more general information concerning car safety seats and injury prevention use this resource.

You can find a list of child safety seat recalls here.

Also, check out the Child Passenger Safety Technical Encyclopedia at www.carseat.org

For a Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control click here.

Finally, for the most comprehensive database of information concerning this issue, please take the time to visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.NHTSA.gov.

DISCLAIMER

The Bell & Pollock Legal Blog (hereinafter “Blog”), and all contents contained therein, including but not limited to, posts, comments and links, are for educational and informational purposes only.  They are not legal advice or legal opinions. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this Blog.  Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between Bell & Pollock, its attorneys, and/or the Blog’s authors, and you.  The author and/or attorneys at Bell & Pollock, its employees, agents, or others that provide information on or through this Blog will not be liable or responsible to you for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related to your use of the information contained in this Blog or to any site linked to this Blog. 

If you or a loved one has been injured, call the law firm of Bell &
Pollock, P.C., 303-795-5900 – www.bellpollock.com or www.championsofthepeople.com – Denver Injury
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If you or a loved one has been injured, call the law firm of Bell &
Pollock, P.C., 303-795-5900 – www.bellpollock.com or www.championsofthepeople.com – Denver Injury
Attorneys, Champions of the People.  You can access all of our free
podcasts on our website, just click on "Bell & Pollock on the Radio"

View Attorney Profile

Anthony Gary Bell, Jr.

Licensed since 1975

Member at firm Bell & Pollock, P.C.

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