What to Do If Your Child Was Injured from A Defective Booster Seat
Car accidents are among the leading causes of death for children ages 12 and below in the U.S. According to data from 2020, more than 63,000 children were injured, and 38% of them were not buckled up. For this reason, using proper safety equipment to keep kids safe, such as booster seats, is mandatory. But, what happens when the seat you thought was supposed to keep your kid safe fails to do its purpose? If there are injuries caused by a defective child car seat, the family or parents of the victims can sue the manufacturer.
Read on to learn what to do if your children get injured or suffer fatal consequences due to a faulty booster seat.
What is a Booster Seat?
A booster seat, also called a child safety seat, is designed to protect children ages 8 to 12 years old.
They’re used once the child reaches the booster seat weight requirement of at least 40 pounds and 4 feet and 9 inches in height. It is recommended to use a booster seat until an adult seat belt fits properly.
Types of Defective Child Car Seats
While car seats are built with safety in mind, they do not guarantee protection from dangerous product defects. These flaws may be due to inadequate instructions for proper installation. Another reason may be the manufacturer’s fault for selling out defective car seats, which resulted in people buying defective ones.
What makes a booster seat defective? Booster seats can possess various defects, such as:
Defective Buckles or Chest Clips
Buckles and chest clips should keep a child in place, especially during a collision. However, faulty buckles or malfunctioning chest clips can unlock during a crash, leaving a child with no form of restraint.
Children may also accidentally unfasten the poorly designed buckles, leading to serious injuries even without a collision.
Booster and car seat padding must provide a physical barrier between the child and the car in the event of a collision. In the event of insufficient or poor quality padding, this can reduce the amount of offered protection and increase the likelihood of severe head injuries.
Faulty Carry Handles
Many infant car seats have a detachable base with a handled carrier. Although this feature is handy for transporting a baby, the handle can unexpectedly detach from the base, causing the carrier to be thrown forwards, backward, or to the side. It also causes the child to fall into a moving vehicle.
Defective Infant Car Seat Base Units
Booster seats have a detachable carrier with a base unit that stays fixed in a car. Defective base units may unlatch during a collision, which allows the carrier to be thrown off the base.
Poor Installation or Usage Instructions
Unclear installation or usage instructions can affect how a seat performs and how well a child is protected in a crash. Not using a booster seat properly can eventually lead to fatal injuries.
Flammable materials used in a car or booster seat can cause serious harm if caught on fire in a collision.
Common Injuries From Defective Child Car Seat
Children may suffer from head injuries and spinal cord injuries in a car accident. If the seat is defective, the risk of children getting injured is highly likely. However, a defective car seat sometimes only shows itself when the crash or incident already occurred.
Here are some of the most common injuries children might sustain from faulty car seats:
Spinal Cord Damage
Improper seat installation may cause the spine to twist during an accident. This may cause permanent disabilities such as spinal cord damage.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A child’s head may also accidentally hit the car’s interior or other hard objects in the vehicle. This can eventually lead to concussions, brain injuries, and skull fractures.
Neck injuries like whiplash commonly happen in car accidents. Children may also suffer from a severe neck injury when their head is tilted unnaturally due to a defective child car seat.
Loose car seats may lead to asphyxiation or choking. Toddlers or infants sitting on a car set over a bed or furniture are at risk of getting suffocated, trapped, and rolled over.
How to Keep Your Child Safe as a Passenger
While we cannot entirely avoid defective car seats, we can still take precautionary measures to keep our children safe.
Here are some tips to ensure your child’s protection:
- Use a car seat appropriate for your child’s age, size, height, and weight.
- Read the installation instructions and booster seat guidelines carefully. You may get ask your local fire station for assistance.
- Check and replace your car seat regularly.
Child Restraint Laws in California
According to the California Vehicle Code Section 27360, parents should buckle up children aged 8 years or below in approved restraints suitable for their age, weight, and height.
Failure to follow the California booster seat law is subject to a fine amounting to $490.
Who is Liable and How to Prove Liability
Personal injury cases for defective car seats involve strict liability. The plaintiff may prove the manufacturer’s negligence of failing to make the car seat properly.
You can prove liability through the following:
- Failure to inspect car seats before selling
- Failure to identify defects in the car seat
- Failure to provide a recall list to warn buyers of the hazards of using the seat
Types of Damages for Defective Booster Seat Injuries
Parents may file a claim against the seat manufacturer or the distributing company. If the at-fault party is liable, parents can recover the following damages:
- Compensatory damages for medical bills and out-of-pocket costs
- Intangible harm, such as pain and suffering
- Punitive damages for emotional distress
How Much is the Estimated Compensation Victims Can Receive?
The amount of compensation depends on how the accident happened, the injuries sustained, and the at-fault parties. If your child is injured due to a defective or faulty booster seat, a product liability lawsuit may be brought against the seat’s manufacturer, assembler, wholesaler, or retailer. Although, in some cases, several parties may be liable for compensating the victim and the victim’s family.
In a product liability case, victims may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Surgery and doctor visits
- Medicine and medical devices
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Lost wages
- Loss of quality of life
- Shortened life expectancy
- Wrongful death
Seek Legal Representation from Adamson Ahdoot
If your baby has suffered from a defective child car seat accident, turn to our experienced lawyers at Adamson Ahdoot for assistance with your personal injury case. Call us at (800) 310-1606 today to schedule your free consultation with a premier injury attorney.
Above all else, our clients come first. We go above and beyond to obtain the highest level of compensation possible.Meet Our Attorneys
Multi-Focus Law Firm
Adamsom Ahdoot has successfully executed a plethora of personal injury cases.Cases We Handle
Get in touch with our firm
Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.Take Action Now