Over the years we have seen significant investment in both time and money towards improvements in road safety. Away from the mainstream road safety improvement programs, there has also been a focus on products such as child car seats. More stringent laws to ensure that children of various ages are strapped into appropriate seats and far wider legal obligations on those manufacturing such products have all been welcomed. However, there are still occasions where child car seat accidents have led to injuries and in some cases fatalities.
If you believe that a defective child car seat led to an injury then you may have a claim for compensation against the manufacturer.
Child Car Seat Manufacturers
Whether looking at booster seats or more traditional child car seats the manufacturers of such products are legally obliged to ensure they are fit for purpose and abide by the relevant safety regulations. In basic terms, all child car seats should:
- Undergo continuous monitoring for defects and safety issues
- Highlight the potential risks of using child car seats
- Come with clear and concise instructions about using specific products
- Undergo recalls and necessary adjustments when defects/safety issues are identified
While child car seat manufacturers have a legal obligation to abide by the relevant regulations for each country in which they sell their products, there is a term known as “strict liability” which also comes into play. In the event that a product abides by all of the legal requirements but there may be defects or faults, whether or not known at the time, the manufacturer may still be held liable in the event of injury. So, the excuse that the manufacturer followed all legal obligations to the letter of the law is not enough to cover them in the event of defects/faults emerging at a later date.
Injuries From Child Car Seat Accidents
In the event of a road traffic accident involving a defective child car seat, potential injuries incurred can vary between relatively mild and fatal. These injuries might include:
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Brain damage
- Severed limbs
When you consider that the basic statistics for child seats show that:
- A child travelling with the appropriate restraints is 12.7 times less likely to need to go to a trauma centre after a road traffic accident
- Rear-facing child seats can reduce instances of death and serious injury by up to 90%
This shows how important it is to use the appropriate restraints and ensure that all equipment is safe and fit for purpose.
Can You Claim For A Child Car Seat Accident?
If your child has been injured as a result of negligence by one or more third parties you may well be eligible for compensation on their behalf. However, in order to pursue a child car seat accident claim, negligence must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
Where car child seats are involved, the driver or the product manufacturer, or both, may well be held liable for the accident. The driver would be held responsible if the product was fitted incorrectly while the product manufacturer would be liable for any defects or issues regarding safety. When pursuing a claim for compensation supporting evidence such as medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and photographic/video evidence would prove extremely useful. It is also worth bringing together background information such as when the car seat was bought, how often it was used, etc. After gathering all evidence it is then time to contact a personal injury solicitor for a free consultation.
How Much Compensation Could You Claim?
In theory, a child involved in a road traffic incident could experience a whole range of different injuries as a consequence of a defective car seat. These injuries can include the likes of:
Brain and head injury
- Injuries deemed relatively minor with short-term symptoms and a positive recovery diagnosis can attract compensation from between £1,880 and £10,890.
- Injuries between moderate and minor can lead to poor concentration, mood swings, potential risk of epilepsy and short to medium term impact on lifestyle. Even though there is the potential for a full recovery, in this instance compensation from £13,070 up to £36,740 will be available.
- Moderate brain damage ranging from memory issues, difficulty concentrating and increased dependence on others up to personality changes, damage to sight, speech and senses will attract compensation from £36,740 up to £128,060.
- Moderately severe brain damage generally attracts compensation between £186,890 and £240,590. This bracket of compensation includes severe disabilities, intellectual impairment, change in personality, reduced life expectancy, extreme dependence on others, reduced ability to communicate and behavioural issues.
- Severe brain damage covers injuries such as limited physical and mental response to stimulation, reduced life expectancy, sensory impairment, negligible ability to communicate and serious physical limitations. Compensation between £240,590 and £344,640 would be available.
- Relatively minor neck injuries with expectations of a full recovery between three months and two years will attract compensation up to £6,730.
- Moderate neck injuries including fractures/dislocations, spine injuries, soft tissue damage, and impaired functionality commonly lead to compensation between £6,730 and £32,840.
- Severe neck injuries resulting in full/partial paralysis, increased dependence on others, severe soft tissue damage, permanent disability and increased likelihood of further complications has seen compensation claims starting at £38,800 to in excess of £126,550.
Contacting A Personal Injury Solicitor
When approaching a personal injury solicitor you should give them as much background as possible and all supporting evidence. They will then review your case and where they believe you have a good chance of success they will likely offer a No Win No Fee arrangement. This effectively removes any associated legal expenses incurred by the solicitor when pursuing your claim, in exchange for a “success fee”. The standard success fee is no more than 25% of any compensation award.
After appointing a solicitor your claim will be lodged with the courts together with all supporting evidence. At this point, the defendant will receive a copy of your paperwork and where negligence is fairly obvious they would likely pursue an out-of-court settlement. In the event of disputed negligence or the involvement of more than one party, the case would likely go before the courts where a Judge would make a final decision. The Judge would also rule on an appropriate level of compensation paid in a successful child car sear accident claim.