Bridgeport Car Seat Lawyer

A car seat lawyer talking with a client about the details of their accident and injury case.Car seats are meant to keep kids safe in an accident, and Connecticut law lays out specific requirements for the use of car seats and booster seats:

  • Babies should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two years old and 30 pounds.
  • Toddlers should be placed in a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness until they are five years old and 40 pounds.
  • After outgrowing the car seat, children should be in a booster seat with a lap belt and shoulder belt until they are eight years old and 60 pounds.
  • Kids who have graduated from the booster seat must always wear a seatbelt and should remain in the backseat of the car until they are 13.

When used correctly, car seats reduce the risk of injury in a car accident by up to 82 percent, according to the CDC. Booster seat use reduces the risk of injury by 45 percent compared to seat belts alone.

But what happens if your car or booster seat doesn’t meet industry standards? What if your child is injured due to a defective car seat?

Contact a Bridgeport Car Seat Attorney Today

If you believe or suspect a defective car seat injured your child, don’t wait—speak with a car seat attorney right away. We’ll review what happened in the accident, learn about your child’s injuries, and examine the car seat.

It’s helpful to save the potentially defective car seat if you have not already disposed of it. If we find evidence that the seat was defective, we may be able to pursue a claim for damages such as medical bills and other losses.

How Would You Know if Your Child’s Car Seat Was Defective?

Registering your car seat will ensure that the manufacturer can contact you quickly in the event of a recall. You can also check an online list of recalled child safety restraints if you don’t remember whether you registered your car seat.

Unfortunately, someone is always the first to get hurt by a defective product. There may be dozens or even hundreds more injuries before the manufacturer admits they have a problem and recalls the defective item.

For this reason, it’s possible to have a defective car seat even if there is no current recall. If you suspect a problem, please speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

It’s a good idea to check your child’s car seat often and look for signs of cracking in the plastic or other indications of wear and tear. These may or may not be signs of a defect, but if you notice them, it’s best to replace the seat as soon as possible.

You should also replace the seat if you’ve been in an accident, whether or not anyone was hurt. Even if there are no noticeable signs of a problem, the car seat could have been damaged while protecting your child from the impact.

What Are Some Common Defects in Car Seat Injury Cases?

Here are some of the most frequent ways that car seats can fail, leaving a child at risk:

Defective Buckles or Chest Clips

You care about your child’s safety, so you always buckle them into the car seat, then tug on the buckle or clip to be sure it latches correctly. But what if you get in an accident and find out the buckle somehow came unhooked anyway?

These situations can be devastating for both the injured child and the parent or parents. The first responders may ask why the child wasn’t hooked into their car seat while they were driving.

Did you forget to buckle them up? Do you know the correct way to use the car seat?

In some cases, this can lead to legal complications if the parent is cited for failing to secure the child. If the infant is seriously hurt, someone at the hospital might even report them for child endangerment.

If you and your child have been in an accident where you know you buckled them incorrectly, but the buckle or clip was mysteriously undone or torn after the crash, the car seat may have been defective. Please save the seat and contact an attorney to learn more.

Defective Base Units

Many car seats are detachable, and they hook into a piece of equipment called a base unit. As with the buckles and clips, sometimes base units can be defective, leading to the car seat detaching during an accident.

Defective Carry Handles

These handles are designed to lock into place and remain immobile when the seat is attached to the base unit. A defective handle could move unexpectedly, and the car seat might move out of place or fall while the vehicle moves.

It’s helpful to understand that while the above defects can certainly be dangerous in a car accident, sometimes an accident is not necessary for your child to be injured. For instance, if another driver cuts in front of you without warning, it might be necessary to brake suddenly.

You avoid a collision, but your child’s car seat detaches and slides forward, causing your child to hit their head on the front seat. This injury would be due to the defective car seat despite no accident.

Insufficient Padding

If you’ve spent much time looking at your child’s car seat, you’ve probably noticed that it’s well-padded for the infant’s safety and comfort. But is there enough padding?

In some cases, there isn’t. If the seat doesn’t have enough padding in the right areas, it might not absorb enough of the impact in a collision.

Unlike the previous examples, lack of padding is often an insidious problem. If you notice your child’s seat has detached, it’s obvious something went wrong.

If your child is still in their car seat after the crash, you may believe the seat did its job. However, if your child has a serious head or brain injury despite remaining in their seat, it’s possible there was not enough padding.

Poor Installation Instructions

You should always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for a car seat, but sometimes the instructions can be confusing. Usually, the hospital where your child was born will offer help to new parents struggling with car seats, but if you need to buy a new seat later, you could be on your own.

Often, local fire departments or community centers will run events where they check car seats for parents, and it’s always a good idea to ensure that your car seat is secure.

But sometimes, the seat’s instructions are so confusing or unclear that even the professionals don’t know what they mean or may misunderstand the directions. If you know that you followed the instructions carefully and there was still a problem with the car seat during an accident, it’s possible the manufacturer failed to provide clear directions.

What Damages Can You Seek in a Defective Car Seat Case?

You have a right to seek compensation for your child’s medical care, including future expenses. If it appears that their injuries may require long-term care, we can estimate their future medical costs to ensure we seek enough compensation.

Additionally, you can recover other related expenses, such as travel costs to see a specialist, prescriptions, therapy, mobility aids, etc.

Another potential damage is your child’s pain and suffering, as they may have experienced physical pain or mental or emotional distress. Many children have nightmares, trouble sleeping, or other signs of anxiety after an accident, and being in an insecure car seat can sometimes make the event even more traumatic.

What if You Also Have a Case Against Another Driver?

This is not unusual. It’s possible for another driver to cause an accident and for a defective car seat to make your child’s injuries worse than they would have been if the car seat had functioned correctly.

In many personal injury cases, there is more than one liable party. There are also situations where the other driver’s insurance may not be sufficient to cover all damages from your accident.

In some situations, we recommend filing a claim against both the at-fault driver and the car seat manufacturer. Your lawyer will review the details of your case and determine the best way to recover all your damages so you will have the resources you need to help your child.

How Can You Get Help From a Bridgeport Car Seat Law Firm?

If you have concerns about your child’s injuries in a car accident, please contact Bert McDowell Injury Law for a free consultation. We will identify all liable parties, answer your questions, and explain your options for pursuing a claim.

There is no obligation, and if we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle it.

Bert McDowell, Jr. is an experienced trial attorney who has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured people and their families. You may have seen him in 40 Under 40 Connecticut or National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.

He’s also been a Super Lawyers Rising Star for four consecutive years. When he’s not working on a case, Mr. McDowell is committed to community service and is on the board of several nonprofits.

Bert McDowell has been honored with the 100 Men of Color and Man of Excellence Awards for his community service. Call (203) 590-9169 to work with his team today.