Your most important job as a parent is to keep your child safe. Car accidents cause 25 percent of the deaths for children under the age of 13. Many of these deaths involve faulty car seats or children who are not in car seats. In other words, they are preventable; and that is tragic.
Of course, not all car accidents result in a child’s death. But, children are more susceptible to serious injury and potentially life-altering conditions. If you were in a car accident and your child suffered injuries while in a car seat—or if someone else transported your child without putting them in a car seat and injured them in a crash—you deserve aggressive and compassionate legal representation. The law may entitle you to compensation. To find out for sure, speak with an experienced PA car seat lawyer today.
PA Car Seat Laws
Pennsylvania law requires that any child younger than four is secured in a car seat while riding in a car. The law continues that any child under the age of two must be in a rear-facing car seat. The latter part of this law, requiring children under two to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, was implemented in 2016 with recommendations from medical professionals. Keeping smaller children in rear-facing car seats provides additional protection for them if they are involved in an accident.
Older children are also subject to PA car seat laws. Between the ages of four and eight, drivers must secure children in booster seats. The law is more generic for slightly older children, simply stating that the booster seat must be appropriate for the child’s size and weight.
Children between the ages of eight and 13 must sit in the back seat. While they do not need to ride in a car seat, they must wear a seat belt. Any violation of any of the PA state car seat laws subjects the driver to a $125 fine, per violation. For example, if you have two young children in the back seat improperly secured, that subjects you to a $250 fine.
The driver of a vehicle with any passenger bears the responsibility to properly secure all passengers, including children. Any accidents that happen may subject you to fines and penalties.
Types of Car Seats
Car seats protect your child. As your child grows, you will need to get a larger car seat to properly secure their growing body and larger weight. The wrong size car seat or the wrong type of car seat can potentially endanger your child. Make sure that you get the right car seat and that you use it correctly.
Infant Car Seats
These car seats, designed generally for children under the age of two, are all rear-facing car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping your child in a rear-facing car seat or booster seat at least until age three. This aligns with Pennsylvania law. Children receive more protection for their fragile bodies in a rear-facing car seat. Properly securing them keeps them safer in an accident. Many infant car seats also double as a carrier.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats provide more flexibility by allowing interchanging pieces. This makes it possible to use one car seat from birth until your child no longer requires a car seat. Convertible car seats work in both rear-facing and front-facing positions. But because these car seats are often bulkier—allowing for longer-term use—they take up more room in your car. They also cannot double as a carrier as they are a nearly permanent fixture in your vehicle.
All-in-One Car Seats
All-in-one car seats are similar to convertible car seats. The biggest difference and advantage is that an all-in-one car seat can also become a booster seat when your child reaches a certain age and size. Like a convertible, these car seats allow you the opportunity to make one purchase and modify it as your child grows.
Booster seats are for older children, usually those weighing at least 30 pounds. The greatest thing about a booster seat is that it will secure your child until they no longer need a car seat or booster seat.
No matter what car seat or booster seat you choose for your child, make sure you check the expiration date. Regulations around the production of child car seats change and these items do expire. You do not want to put your child in danger by using an expired car seat that may not provide adequate protection.
How Car Seats Protect Children
Modern cars come standard with many safety features. But these safety features are not designed for smaller passengers, like young children. Putting your child in a car seat or booster seat designed for their size and age is the best way to keep them safe in your vehicle. Car seats reduce the risk of injury to your child by over 70 percent.
Rear-facing car seats provide your child with added protection. If you are in a car accident, the three walls of the heavily padded car seat secure your child. A rear-facing car seat also helps prevent your child’s head from whipping around.
Older children also receive greater protection from car seats. Car seats and booster seats often have more seat belts and restraints built into them. Your child may not like being strapped in like a race car driver, but in the event of an accident, these restraints help to hold your child’s body in place, reducing injuries. A regular seat belt is designed for a full-grown adult, not a child. Using a regular seat belt on a child could actually cause more harm, and it is easier for them to slip out of in a serious accident.
Protecting your child while in the car is an important duty. Even taking all of the appropriate steps, your precious child may still suffer injuries. We understand how devastating that can be. Working with a skilled PA car seat lawyer can give your child the best chance of making a complete recovery.
Child Seat Defects
You may have done everything right. You researched which car seat was best for your child. You followed the installation instructions and correctly installed the car seat. Unfortunately, you were in a car accident and your child’s car seat failed to protect them.
Sometimes, manufacturers do not build car seats correctly. No matter how small the defect, a car seat may fail and cause serious injury to your child.
These defects can include:
- Buckling failure
- Choking hazard
- Flammable material
- Carrier separation
- Defective latch
- Improper construction materials
- Defective seat belts
- Failure to properly test
- Failure to meet safety standards
Child seat defects are not immediately apparent. You may have been in a serious accident, so you may not know that your child’s car seat or booster seat failed to properly protect them. That is why it can be vital to the success of your child’s recovery that you speak with a trusted car seat lawyer in PA as soon as possible after your accident. A lawyer familiar with car seat defects could uncover whether your child suffered injuries because of a defect.
You might think that it does not matter how your child was injured, and you just want them to recover. While that is clear, their physical recovery is the most important thing right now. Their injuries might be severe and could even be life-threatening. You want to make sure that you hold the negligent party liable for your child’s suffering. You also want to make sure that you collect compensation from the negligent party so you do not pay out of your own pocket for your child to get better. Working with an experienced car seat lawyer can give you the guidance and support you need.
Injuries Children Might Receive
Depending on the severity of the car accident and whether the car seat was defective, your child’s injuries may range from minor to life-altering.
Common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Temporary or permanent brain damage
Your child lights up your life and when you see them suffering, you want nothing more than to take that suffering away. Even if your child only suffered shock from the accident and they are otherwise fine, you want to make them better right away. When your child has suffered serious injuries, you may feel anger and frustration toward the person or company responsible for your child’s suffering.
You could hold the at-fault party liable. All you need to do is speak with a compassionate car seat lawyer in PA today.
Damages You Could Collect
Filing a lawsuit might be the last thing from your mind after a car accident injures your child. Unfortunately, you only have limited time to file a lawsuit against the negligent party, so you must act fast.
Contacting a lawyer right after your accident can begin the legal process while you focus on getting your child the medical attention they need and help them recover from their injuries.
The point of filing a lawsuit is to collect damages from the at-fault party.
These damages could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Long-term care costs
- In-home care costs
- Your lost wages
Because your child depends on you for support, you may need to take time off of work. You probably will not get compensation for that time off, so you need to know how much your time is worth. But you also need to ensure that you collect enough compensation to cover your child’s medical bills.
Depending on the severity of their injuries, your child may face:
- Multiple surgeries
- Extended hospital stays
- Multiple doctor visits
- Inability to live a full life
Each of these medical needs may come with astronomical costs. Medical procedures and doctor visits are expensive. Those bills pile up quickly and you may not know how you are going to handle them all.
When you partner with a skilled PA car seat lawyer, you gain access to their wealth of knowledge and experience in this area of law. Together with medical experts, you could create an accurate estimate of your child’s future needs. You can put a dollar figure on those medical needs. That is an amount you should not be on the hook for; that should be the sole responsibility of the at-fault party, the one who has caused your child such suffering and anguish.
Collecting compensation will not undo your child’s pain. But it could help ease your financial burden. The right car seat lawyer can help you collect every dollar you deserve so you do not pay out of your own pocket to cover your child’s medical expenses.
Work With a Trusted Car Seat Lawyer
The lawyer you choose can make a difference in your PA car seat injury claim. You owe it to your child to work with an aggressive and compassionate car seat lawyer who has your best interests at heart. Your child deserves a lawyer who has the experience required to take on a complex car accident claim and a lawyer who is not afraid to stand up to the big insurance companies.
You need a lawyer who has proven experience helping victims like you recover for their child’s suffering and medical expenses. Working with a skilled PA car seat attorney can help your child get back on their feet and back to their regular life quickly.
If your child was injured while riding in a car seat, contact an experienced and trusted car seat lawyer today. Your child deserves legal representation with their best interests at heart.