As a child-safety advocate, Attorney Jeffrey Killino understands the emotional turmoil a parent endures when a child is hurt or killed as the result of a defective product that the parent has assumed to be safe. Defective products abound, and children are injured daily as a result. Parents are inundated with products geared toward infants, toddlers, older children, and teenagers, and each one comes with a reasonable expectation of safety.
Your child’s car seat is no exception. The use of car seats is required by law in every state. Though such seats have saved countless infants from severe injury or death, some have actually been a cause of such injury or death. Research reveals that from 1998 to 2001, four major manufacturers of child safety seats announced five recalls involving as many as 10 million car seats.
If your child has suffered an injury due to use of a defective car seat, contact child car-seat injury attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to discuss your legal options.
What Parents Need to Know
Child car-seat recalls often relate to defective handles or restraints. Since 1998, nearly 500 injuries to both restrained and unrestrained infants have occurred through use of models of car seats that have been recalled for defects such as unsafe restraints.
In 2003, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled as many as four million infant car seats/carriers manufactured by Century Products, alone, after the company received over 2700 reports of malfunctioning car seats and more than 200 reports of related injuries. The defect in those recalled seats related to the product’s handles, which could break under ordinary use or fail to properly lock.
When properly made and used, however, child car-seats reduce the risk of death in vehicle accidents by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers aged 1 to 4. Among children under 5 years old, an estimated 451 lives were saved in 2004 by proper child-restraint use.
Car Seat Injuries: Causes and Consequences
Auto accidents are among the greatest threats to child safety and are the single largest cause of death among children between the ages of five and eight. According to NHTSA, safety restraints for children, such as car seats, are advisable for any child within that age range. When these restraints operate properly, they save countless injuries and lives. When defective, however, these same seats may lead to unnecessary injury or death.
Common car-seat defects include
- Straps made from low-quality materials that tear too easily or are highly flammable
- Faulty latches that come undone when mild force is applied
- Latches that are too difficult to undo, making it hard to remove a child during an emergency
- Weak frames or cushions that come undone too easily
- Faulty strap-adjusters that make the straps too loose or too tight
Defects such as these can turn what might have been a minor car accident into a major catastrophe. Small children can be thrown from their seats, trapped in place, or injured by car seats themselves. Car-seat defect attorney Jeffrey Killino and his exceptional legal team are dedicated to holding manufacturers of these potentially dangerous products responsible for the injuries they cause.
Legal Liability for Child Car-seat Injuries
Injuries Caused by Defective Products
When a child’s car-seat injury is due to a defect in the car-seat, a product-liability action may be brought against the manufacturer of any of the seat’s component parts, the assembler or manufacturer of the seat, itself, and anyone else in the product’s chain of distribution.
These defects, as noted above, may exist with respect to straps, restraint locks, or any other part of a car-seat. When a manufacturing or design defect is a cause of injuries suffered by a child in a vehicle accident, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution may be held responsible pursuant to a strict-liability claim for the injuries sustained, even in the absence of negligence.
Damages in Product-liability Cases
Compensatory damages recoverable in product-liability cases include costs of past and future medical expenses, lifelong care, adjustments made to vehicles and homes to accommodate paralysis injuries, pain and suffering, rehabilitation, and loss of earning potential. In some jurisdictions, punitive damages may also be recovered under certain circumstances.
If, for example, a manufacturer was aware of a defect and that the defect caused injuries, but failed or refused to take steps to remedy the defect, an award of punitive damages may be allowable against that defendant. Many jurisdictions require more than mere inaction in the face of a known defect to justify punitive damages while others will find punitive damages justified when a manufacturer knew or reasonably should have known of a defect (i.e. had actual or constructive knowledge) and failed to take any steps to remedy the defect.
Injuries Caused by Adult Error or Negligence
Injuries may also occur to children whose car seats fail to adequately protect them in vehicle accidents as a result of adult or parent error/negligence rather than a defect in the product itself. If your child was improperly strapped in a car seat or otherwise improperly restrained through the negligence of another caregiver, you may be able to recover damages for your child’s resulting injuries in a negligence action against the responsible adult.
Adults often neglect to restrain children properly or to restrain them at all. According to NHTSA, three out of every four adults improperly use or install child car-seats in their vehicles. In 2004, 495 children under 5 years of age died in vehicle accidents and an estimated 173 (35 %) of those children were unrestrained. Failure to restrain a child can have serious or deadly consequences. When an occupant is ejected from a vehicle due to the absence of restraint, he or she is 4 times more likely to die and 14 times more likely to receive cervical-spine injuries as a result of the accident.
Even those parents who elect to restrain their children may do so improperly, either knowingly or unknowingly. According to NHTSA, three out of every four adults improperly use or install child car-seats in their vehicles, yet 96 percent of such parents and caregivers believe they have safely restrained their children.
Contact Child Car Seat Injury Attorney Jeffery Killino
If your child has suffered a car-seat injury as a result of a product defect or someone’s negligence, contact child car-seat-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.