Any type of car accident can be upsetting and lead to serious injuries. The event can be even more traumatic if a child is injured. While specially designed car seats do make journeys safer, children can still get injured in car accidents. If your child is injured in a crash caused by somebody else or because their car seat was faulty, you could seek compensation for any suffering that was caused. As such, this article about child car seat accident claims will look at the types of accidents and injuries that could result in a claim.
To find out more about booster seat or child car seat accident claims, please read on or contact our team on 0800 0652 1345 with any questions.
UK child car seat laws
Your child’s safety undoubtedly matters to you more than anything else when you’re driving. To help you ensure you have a safe car seat, the government has released laws and guidance to explain when a child needs to use a car seat and the types that must be used.
The government’s rules on child car seats state that:
- Children need to use a child’s car seat until they are 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall (whichever happens first). A seatbelt must be worn after this.
- Infants in height-based car seats must face the rear of the car until they are 15 months old.
- EU-approved height-based car seats are the only type allowed to be used in the UK.
- Front airbags must be disabled when using a rear-facing child car seat in the front seat of the car.
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:
If your child has been injured by a child’s car seat, you could seek compensation for their suffering. To find out if we could help you begin a claim, please speak to an advisor today.
Can I claim compensation for a child car seat accident?
To claim compensation for a child car seat accident, you’ll need to prove that:
- The defendant in the case owed your child a duty of care; and
- Negligence by the defendant caused an accident to occur; and
- Your child sustained injuries as a result of the accident.
Those who might owe your child a duty of care include:
- Other road users.
- The manufacturer of the car seat.
- The local authority if the accident was caused by a road defect due to a lack of maintenance.
If you speak to one of our specialists, they’ll assess who you would need to claim against and check for a legal duty of care. As such, you needn’t be too concerned about this. Instead, you could concentrate your efforts on securing proof to support the claim. We’ll explain more about this later on.
Child car seat manufacturer liability
You may be able to sue a child car seat manufacturer for defects that resulted in your child being injured. Some of the reasons this might be possible include:
- Product defects. You may be able to claim if the car seat failed to protect your child because it was assembled or manufactured using substandard materials. It may also be able to claim for a defective product due to poor workmanship when the seat was assembled.
- Design defects. An example here might be where a release mechanism is positioned in a way that makes it easy for a child to undo it themselves during a journey and thus reducing the effectiveness of the car seat.
- Inadequate signage. Manufacturers of child car seats use stickers and user manuals to warn parents of any potential risks when fitting the seat. If those warnings are missing or inadequate, the manufacturer could be deemed negligent.
- Child car seat recalls. Manufacturers are duty-bound to inform consumers of any serious defects they become aware of. This can come in the form of a product recall where the car seat is modified or replaced with a safer design. Failure to issue a recall for a known fault that causes your child to suffer could result in a child car seat accident claim.
Other reasons for claiming compensation for injuries from a child car seat
In addition to the car seat manufacturer, you may have grounds to claim compensation from other parties if their negligence caused your child to sustain injuries in an accident. Some examples of this include:
- A road traffic collision caused by another driver who was distracted by their phone or satnav.
- Crashes caused by road rage, drunkenness or other forms of dangerous driving.
- Head-on collisions caused by a vehicle overtaking another vehicle when it was not safe to do so.
- Skids and crashes caused by a lack of gritting in icy conditions.
- Car crashes caused by road defects (potholes, sinkholes etc) due to a lack of inspection or road maintenance.
How much compensation for a child car seat accident claim?
It is important to properly assess how your child has suffered (and could continue to suffer) before filing a compensation claim for a child’s car seat accident. If your claim is taken on by one of our solicitors, they’ll spend some time discussing the impact of their injuries to try and ensure a fair compensation settlement is received. If the claim is successful, it could provide damages to cover:
- The physical pain endured by your child.
- Any psychological injury (distress, anxiety, depression etc).
- Loss of amenity i.e. if your child cannot play with their friends as usual because of a broken leg.
- Care costs to cover your time or that of a professional carer.
- Loss of earnings if your child’s injuries will affect their ability to earn in the long term.
- Medical costs such as private physiotherapy costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Modifications to your home or vehicle such as hoists, lifts and ramps if your child has been left disabled by the accident.
- Replacement costs for items damaged during the accident.
Claiming compensation on behalf of your child
Legally, anybody under the age of 18 years old cannot represent themselves. However, parents, guardians or other adults can file a compensation claim on behalf of a child by becoming their litigation friend.
Once you’ve been approved by a court, you can act on your child’s behalf and work with a solicitor as normal. As the claim proceeds, you’ll be asked to make decisions with your child’s best interests at heart.
If the claim is successful, a court will review the settlement amount to ensure it is fair. Until the child is 18 years of age, the compensation payment will be held in a court account. Litigation friends can then request funds from the court to cover costs that are beneficial to the child i.e. care costs, equipment costs etc.
Providing proof for a child car seat accident claim
When you file a child car seat accident claim, it will usually be dealt with by an insurance company that represents the defendant. In many cases, the insurer will not accept liability for the accident or your child’s injuries from the outset.
Instead, they’ll need to be convinced of why their client’s negligence caused an accident and the level of suffering your child has endured. The types of proof that can help with this include:
- Medical records from the hospital that treated your child’s injuries.
- Pictures of the accident scene taken at the time of the incident or photographs of any car seat defects.
- Witness statements from anybody who saw the accident happen.
- Police records if the emergency services attended the accident.
- Dashcam recordings from your vehicle or from others that stopped at the scene – see our article here.
- Financial records to help you claim back any costs associated with the accident.
Medical assessments for a personal injury claim
As solicitors are not medically trained, all car seat accident claims must be supported by an independent medical report. As such, your solicitor will arrange for a medical expert to examine your child’s injuries. This is nothing to be concerned about and you’ll be present throughout.
During the meeting, the specialist will review your child’s injuries and ask you both about how your child has suffered. After that, a report will be produced to set out your child’s prognosis. This will be used to help determine how much compensation will be claimed.
Child car seat injury claim time limits
The Limitation Act 1980 sets out a 3-year time limit for personal injury claims in the UK. This usually starts from the date of an accident.
However, the time limit for accidents involving children does not begin until their 18th birthday. As such, parents can claim compensation for a child car seat accident at any time before that date.
It is usually easier to secure proof to support the claim if you begin the process as soon as possible. Additionally, if the defendant accepts liability early on, your child could benefit from private medical treatment of their injuries paid for by the defendant by way of interim payments.
The time taken for a claim to be settled will vary. Minor injury claims can sometimes be settled in around 6 months or so. Where it’s harder to fully understand the impact of your child’s injuries, the claims process could take more than a year. In these cases, your solicitor could request interim payments to help you with the financial impact of your child’s injuries.
No Win, No Fee claims
We believe that there is a higher chance that your child will win their claim and be compensated fairly if they’re represented by a personal injury solicitor. To take away some of the stress regarding legal fees, our solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service for any case they take on.
Once you’ve signed the No Win, No Fee agreement, your solicitor will:
- Contact the defendant to inform them of the claim.
- Collect proof from you and other sources if possible to support the claim.
- Arrange for medical reports to be obtained.
- Deal with all communication with the defendant’s insurers.
- Review any settlement offers with you to ensure that they are fair.
If the claim is lost, you won’t be asked to pay any solicitor’s fees whatsoever. Should you receive compensation, though, a success fee (a percentage of the settlement) will be deducted to cover your solicitor’s costs.
The exact amount you’ll pay will be clearly listed in your agreement so you’ll be fully aware of the percentage you’ll pay at the start of your claim.
Start a child car seat accident claim today
Our team of specialist advisors is ready to help if you’d like a free initial consultation about your claim. Simply calling us on 0800 652 1345 could be all it takes to start the claims process.
During your call, we’ll gather information from you to assess the merit of the claim and give you free legal advice about your options. If the claim is suitable and accepted by one of our solicitors, they’ll manage the case on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Our live chat advisors are on hand if you’d like to know anything else about child car seat accident claims.