Defective car seat injury claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Car seat manufacturers are liable if a car seat product defect causes injury, but you must fit the seat in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

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By law, parents must ensure that children under the age of 12 or 135cm tall are safely and properly secured in a vehicle using an age-appropriate car seat.

But even when parents take the necessary steps to protect their smaller passengers, injuries can still happen. Sadly, many of these incidents involve defects or faults in child car seats.

Child sitting in car seat

Manufacturers are liable for car seat safety

Car seat manufacturers are liable for the safety of the products they manufacture. As well as ensuring that the car seats they manufacture meet minimum European safety standards, they must:

  • give full instructions about the proper use of the car seat
  • warn customers about the potential risks of the car seat
  • monitor the safety of the car seats they manufacture
  • take the necessary action, such as a product recall, if a safety problem is found with their products.

Sometimes a manufacturer will follow the safety rules and still a child is injured due to a defect in the car seat. In this scenario, the manufacturer is still liable for your child's injury, regardless of whether they were at fault or not. This is known as 'strict liability'.

It does not matter whether the manufacturer is aware of a defect before the car seat hits the retail stores - if a defect causes injury, you may have the right to receive compensation.

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Following manufacturer's instructions

A car seat might only be defective because it has been poorly fitted in the vehicle or the child has not been harnessed in accordance with the manufacturer's operating instructions.

In this scenario, a Court may decide that the person driving the car in which the child was injured was wholly or partly to blame for the child's injuries, even if they were not to blame for the accident itself. Often, this person will be the child's parent.

In one such case, a mother involved in a collision between two cars near Wrexham was found to have contributed towards her three year old daughter Emma's injuries, even though the other driver was entirely to blame for the accident.

That's because Ms Williams, the child's mother, has strapped her daughter into an inappropriate booster seat. Had Emma been strapped into an age-appropriate car seat, she probably would have suffered only minor injuries. Crucially, the manufacturer's instructions pointed out that the booster seat was not suitable for a child of Emma's height, weight and age.

The Court decided that Ms Williams was 25% responsible for her daughter's injuries and was therefore liable to pay 25% of the compensation due to her daughter. The other driver was ordered to pay the remaining 75%. The quality of the booster seat itself was not a factor in this case as the operating instructions clearly warned of the danger.

Settlements of this nature are referred to as 'split liability agreements'.

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Do I have a defective child car seat injury claim?

If you or your child were injured by a defective child car seat in the last three years, then we can probably help you make a compensation claim.

See our Online Claim Eligibility Calculator for a better idea of where you stand.

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Calculate my child car seat injury compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet our team

The nationwide panel of QLS solicitors take on all types of road accident claims, from relatively minor claims to long-term injuries. Selected for their track record in recovering compensation, QLS's solicitors have years of dedicated experience.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Rakhi Chauhan Road Accident Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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