Defective Child Car Seats Endanger Your Child’s Life. Children’s car seats protect your most valuable cargo. Children are vulnerable when riding in a vehicle. Their bodies cannot withstand the jarring and jolting in a car crash without the additional protection a car seat provides. Interestingly, a car seat helps reduce the effects of an impact and helps the child fit into the seatbelt securely. However, car seat manufacturers are issuing recalls for defective car seats at a very high rate. Recalls happen so frequently one might ask: Are any child car seats safe?
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm dedicated to holding companies responsible for the damage they caused by sending defective goods into the stream of commerce. Parker Waichman’s defective car seat attorneys accumulated a tremendous amount of experience seeking justice for people injured or killed because of defective products like child car seats.
Car Seat Recalls: Possible Evidence of Liability
In 2014, the child car seat manufacturer Graco recalled almost 2 million car seats because of a design flaw in one of its most popular models. The company determined that there was a design defect in the car seat’s safety harness buckle. Graco found that food particles or dried liquids could fall into the harness and become trapped. This would cause the buckle to freeze and required a significant amount of force to free. This design flaw could become deadly if a person could not free a child from the car seat in an emergency.
Graco is not the only company subject to recalls although it does have its share. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration posts the most recent recalls on its website. These recalls serve the purpose of removing defective car seats from use by the unwitting public. Some defects are minor, while others endanger the lives of the children using the car seat. For example, one recall indicated that the design of the webbing installed to prevent the child from ejection from the car seat is defective and insufficient to hold the baby in position.
Why Child Seat Manufacturers Are Liable For Faulty Products
Child car seats are no different than any other consumer product available in the marketplace today. Some could argue that they are different because of the function for which they are used: keeping babies safe. Child car seat manufacturers owe a duty to the consuming public as imposed by a given state’s products liability laws. In short, manufacturers of consumer goods owe a responsibility to the public to sell a product that works consistently with its packaging and labeling. The labeling must include appropriate consumer warnings so that the consuming public can educate themselves about the possible dangers lurking from using a product. Contract law also imposes certain warranties on the seller of the goods. Therefore, a seller or manufacturer could be liable for damages for a breach of both express and implied warranties.A manufacturer can be responsible for damages resulting from incorrect or misleading labeling because consumers rely on the information manufacturers include in those items.
Additionally, a manufacturer is liable for damages arising from faulty manufacturing processes and flawed designs. Manufacturing defects typically involve those goods that the company produced with insufficient quality. Some examples would include manufacturing car seats with inferior plastic because the lot of plastic used during the assembly process was lower quality than required or failing to secure the joints of the car seat adequately which might loosen when in use.
A design defect invades the whole product line and not just a smaller portion. As an example, a design defect could appear in the way in which the car seat anchors could loosen because the design itself is insufficient to perform the task rather than the manner in which the product was assembled. Another example might be that the designers of the car seat included a particular strengthen of plastic to make the car seat which is later determined to lack the sufficient strength to withstand the forces of a car accident applied to the seat. In other words, design defects cannot be eliminated by correcting a problem on the assembly line. Preferably, the whole product should be scrapped.
Legal Theories of Recovery for Defective Car Seats
Most states recognize two legal theories of liability for defective products: strict liability and negligence. We expect that the manufacturers of goods get it right and protect consumers from harm. Caveat emptor, which is Latin for “let the buyer beware,” does not apply to purchasing consumer goods from stores like car seats.Consequently, thelaw of strict liability holds manufacturers, the makers of the components if different from the assemblers of the parts,and the sellers of the goods accountable for their faulty products without requiring the injured person to prove intent or a failure to meet certain standards of conduct caused by law due to carelessness.
An injured party can use the legal theory of strict liability to hold a manufacturer responsible for the damages resulting from an injury or death from a faulty item. A company may be strictly liable for the injuries a consumer suffered from a defective product design even though the company exercised reasonable caution and acted appropriately throughout the manufacturing process.
The law of negligence is the second theory of recovery for a person injured by a defective product. Negligenceis essentially the legal term for carelessness. Liability for damages is based on the duty to act and then failing to do so sufficiently. In the products liability context, manufacturers and sellers of goods have a duty, or obligation, to warn people about the possible danger of using a particular product or giving thorough instructions about using the product. The company is liable under the theory of negligence if the company’s failure to act when the company should have performed injured another. Negligence can apply to mislabeling as well. Mislabeling could also be an intentional act on the manufacturer’s behalf.
Damages Recovered For Defective Car Seats
Thedamages a party might recover depend on the facts of the case. State statutes govern over wrongful death suits. So, if a child died as a result of a defective car seat, then the particular state’s wrongful death statute controls any possible recovery. Recovery may be made for the “whole life” of the individual. Placing a value on a human life is exceedingly difficult because a dollar amount is inadequate to compensate a parent for the loss of their child.
Some damages are less complicated to quantify. Present and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of economic advantage, future medical care, educational costs, future accommodations are much easier to calculate than the loss of a whole life. Each particular factor has a dollar figure that is or can be determined based on the amount of care the child might need in the future and whether the child will fully recover from his or her injuries.Pain and suffering as a component of damages are less specific.The appropriate amount of compensation for pain and suffering depends on the nature of the case, the seriousness of the injuries, the relative fault of the manufacturers, and the mental health of the child involved.
One must be advised that every case is different. The facts and circumstances of each person’s claim will determine the appropriate amount of damages.
Representation of Your Defective Car Seat Claim
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm who stakes its reputation on our clients’ successes. Call Parker Waichman LLP for scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim, or more convenient you can fill out our online form. Time is of the essence, and any delay in contacting us could cause you to give up your rights forever. Do not delay. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our defective car seat lawyers about your rights.