Defective Car Seats
Car seats save thousands of lives and prevent serious injuries every year. Unfortunately, not all car seats are manufactured in compliance with standard safety regulations, meaning that many children are put at risk of serious injury. In fact, the National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that as many as 227,000 children are injured every year as a result of inadequate car seat use, so if your child was injured in an accident as a result of a defective car seat, please contact an experienced product liability attorney who can walk you through your legal options.
Common Car Seat Defects
There are a number of ways in which a car seat can be defective, but the most common include the following:
- Straps made from inferior materials that are flammable or tear easily;
- Faulty latches that come undone when only mild force is applied;
- Weak frames that come apart upon impact;
- A failure to lock in place;
- Poor shell design;
- Insufficient padding;
- The use of flammable fabrics;
- Insufficient neck or head support;
- Base of car seats separating or cracking;
- Faulty strap-adjusters that make straps overly loose or too tight; and
- Latches that are hard to undo, making it difficult to remove a child in the event of an emergency.
These types of defects can turn a minor car crash into a devastating accident, as they make it much more likely that a child will be thrown from his or her seat, trapped, or injured by the seat itself.
Who is Liable?
When a car seat’s defect causes an injury, the child’s parents can file a lawsuit against any of the following entities:
- The company that designed the car seat;
- The manufacturer of the car seat’s component parts;
- The company responsible for assembling the seat;
- The company responsible for transporting or shipping the product if their methods caused the defect; and
- Any other companies in the chain of distribution.
Injured parties who can prove that their child’s car seat was defective and that the defect caused an injury can collect compensatory damages to cover the cost of past and future medical bills, rehabilitation, loss of earning potential, the costs of long-term care, and pain and suffering. In some cases, courts are also willing to award punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. However, courts will only award punitive damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the manufacturer committed an act of fraud or malice, or was grossly negligent in designing or manufacturing the defective car seat. It is important to keep in mind that plaintiffs can only recover damages for injuries caused by a defective product if they file a claim within two years of the date of the injury. In most cases, when a plaintiff files a claim after this deadline, courts will refuse to hear it.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., we are dedicated to helping our clients hold those who were responsible for their accidents accountable for their actions. Please call our office at 737-201-0543, or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.