Defective Car Seat Lawsuits
Child safety seats are designed to protect children from serious injuries in the event of an accident. A properly working car seat can prevent ejections and significantly reduce the injuries suffered by newborns and children involved in a crash. Defective car seats, however, can actually cause harm when they fail to work properly during a crash. Young victims of defective car seats can suffer preventable injuries such as bone fractures, neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries and lacerations.
New York Car Seat Regulations
Every child under the age of 16 in the state of New York must wear a safety restraint when traveling in a motor vehicle. Children under 4 years of age must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat that is attached by a universal child restraint anchorage system or by a safety belt. Children who weigh more than 40 pounds may use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt. Children ages 4 through 7 must use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belts if they are not secured in a child safety seat.
What Makes a Car Seat Defective?
A properly working car seat can prevent serious injuries by safely securing a child in place. A child safety seat may fail to work properly if it is defectively designed or assembled. Common defects that contribute to child injuries in New York City car accidents include:
- Defective chest clip: The chest clip secures the child’s torso in place. When the chest clip fails to latch, or is located too far down, it could allow the child to move or even be ejected from the seat during a collision.
- Improper angle: Whether in a front- or rear-facing child seat, no child should be placed horizontally.
- Poorly designed harnesses: The design of the harness and restraint system will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the seat. Three-point harnesses, for example, often do not give adequate pelvic support making ejections possible.
- Poorly labeled slots: When shoulder harness slots are poorly labeled, it could result in improper use.
- Plastic fractures: When a child seat breaks, it may no longer perform properly during an accident. Cracked and broken plastic parts can cause laceration injuries and pose choking hazards as well.
Recalled Car Seats
Millions of car seats have been recalled over the past decade. Defects that have led to recalls include, but are not limited to, design flaws, use of flammable materials, poor latching systems and weak shells. There have been many large recalls over the years, including:
- Dorel Juvenile Group recalled 19 different models of car seats that failed government crash tests. They issued the recall after receiving multiple reports that their straps lose tension. At least one child was injured because of the defect.
- Evenflo recalled about 450,000 infant car seats and carriers that had handles capable of unexpectedly releasing.
- Team-Tex America recalled car seats that had belting routing labels that were incorrectly placed on the car seat.
- Graco recalled 304,675 Graco SnugRide car seats that had seat pads, which could deteriorate or tear resulting in a choking hazard.
- Recaro recalled a number of Como Convertible car seats that separated from the harness connector.
Proposed New Child Safety Seat Law
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January 2014 has proposed a new regulation that would upgrade standards for car seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds. The new rule will require a test that simulates a side-impact crash or T-bone crash where the front of a vehicle traveling at 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph. Federal officials estimate that these new standards will prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to 64 others each year. Research shows that many child deaths and injuries in these types of broadside crashes involve a car carrying children that is stopped at an intersection.
Product Liability Claims
When a child suffers an injury despite being properly secured in a child safety seat, it is often advisable for the family to preserve the car and the seat for a thorough inspection. It may be possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the car seat. A successful product liability claim will result in financial compensation for all of the damages suffered in the crash. For example, if a child suffers neck injuries in an accident because the child safety seat latch system failed to work properly, it may be possible to hold the manufacturer accountable for the child’s medical bills, rehabilitation services, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Getting the Help You Need
If your child has been hurt in a car accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. With more than 42 years of experience, we work tirelessly to help obtain the best possible compensation for injured victims and for families of deceased victims.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: http://www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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