Car seats can be the difference between life and death in a car accident. But what many people do not realize is that improper car seat placement can render these lifesaving tools virtually ineffective or even more of a risk. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that, “car seat use reduces the risk for injury in crashes by 71–82% for children when compared with seat belt use alone, and booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4–8 when compared with seat belt use alone.” The CDC recommends the use of a rear-facing car seat from birth until ages 2–4, a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5, booster seat use until seat belts fit properly, and seat belt on every trip thereafter. It is recommended that children ages twelve and under should remain in the back seat, as airbag deployment can be dangerous to them.
The safety and effectiveness can also vary based on whether the seat is bought new or secondhand. An article by Consumer Reports posits that because, “as a buyer, you usually can't be 100 percent sure of a secondhand car seat's history, including whether it has been involved in a crash, its expiration date as set by the manufacturer, and its recall status,” a used car seat could carry some added risks. Additionally, it is important to note that in many cases, your insurance company will ask for a receipt for your car seat in order to cover the cost of its damage. Meaning that if you bought your seat secondhand, while you can provide proof of purchase you will not be able to produce a receipt for the value of the seat, which can cause issues with your coverage. Another issue with a used car seat is that it will likely not be registered to you. According to Cars.com, there is a registration card that comes with every new car seat and “registering your car seat allows the car-seat manufacturer to alert you in the event of a recall.”
However, even with a brand new, top of the line car seat, injuries can occur with a defective product. According to The U.S. Department of Transportation defective product that should be recalled includes, “car seats and booster seats that contain defective safety belts, buckles, or components that create a risk of injury not only in a vehicle crash, but also in the non-operational safety of a motor vehicle.” In this instance, you may be entitled to compensation under a product liability claim. In a product liability lawsuit, the actions of the defendant are not always taken into consideration; rather, the court decides whether the plaintiff's injuries were caused by a product defect. If it can be shown that a product is defective, the plaintiff was injured, and the plaintiff's injuries were caused by the defective product, the defendant may be automatically liable.
A personal injury attorney from Moody Law can help you file a product liability claim if you have been injured due to a faulty product. Additionally, if a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death as a result of a defective product, you have legal rights. Serving Central Florida, with offices in Bartow and Lakeland, FL, a defective product attorney from our firm can help ensure that you are justly compensated for your suffering. Call (863) 733-9090 or reach out to us online to schedule a free case review.