Vehicle safety is of paramount importance when children are in the backseat, and in the wake of a car seat recall, a personal injury attorney may be needed to help hold manufacturers accountable. From 1998 to 2001, five manufacturers produced about 10 million defective safety products, resulting in hundreds of injuries. The industry has improved since then, but only marginally. In the previous ten years, there have been more than 50 separate product alerts targeting millions of items. In April, manufacturer Graco voluntarily pulled 3.7 million car seats off the shelves, due to a defective safety release button located in the center of the seat. This button could easily become jammed, which is a dangerous situation in the middle of an emergency.
In the event of a car seat recall, how can an attorney help a victim’s family?
When a child safety device fails suddenly, the results can be traumatic. A personal injury lawyer can help a family submit a product liability claim against the manufacturer in the event of a product failure. In most states, all the family has to do is show that the defective product was responsible, at least in part, for the child’s injuries. Proving negligence is not necessary, so these cases are usually easier to expedite through the legal process. However, these safety restraints can fail in many ways, and consulting with a lawyer experienced in this area will increase the chances of a successful claim. Some of the most common reasons these products fail include:
- Weak or defective shells (the hard protective exterior of the chair)
- Defective handles
- Defective harnesses that either release suddenly or jam
- Poor construction, leading to shell and base separation
- Flammable materials
- Choking hazards
- Poor rotation design resulting in unexpected rotation
Personal injury lawyers experienced in handling these cases should be equipped to demonstrate any of these defects and the injuries they can cause. Flawed safety chairs can result in serious injuries, some of them permanent. These may include:
- Broken bones
- Severe spine or brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries like concussions are particularly common, as they can be caused by any flaws in the product. Something as simple as a handle breaking when picking up the seat can result in a traumatic brain injury.
How can consumers stay up to date on current safety alerts?
After a car seat recall, a personal injury attorney can help a victim’s family, but knowing what products are defective beforehand can prevent injuries entirely. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for monitoring any safety alerts in the industry, so they are the agency of interest to parents. The NHTSA’s website keeps track of all defective products in the last 10 years so families can verify that they don’t have a flawed safety restraint protecting their child.
Parents shouldn’t have to worry if their child’s safety chair is going to provide enough protection. When a manufacturer does fail to provide a quality product, though, experienced personal injury lawyers can help families get the justice they deserve.