Defective Car Seat Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a defective child car seat injury, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by another driver, cyclist, pedestrian or any other road user, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a road injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about how the road accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
By law, all drivers must have insurance to cover the cost of injury compensation claims. Even if you were injured by an unisured or untraceable road user, a claim may still be possible.
We can help you make a road accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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.
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.
Are 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.
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'.
Do I have an injury claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if your injury occurred:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
What if the road accident was my fault?
If you think you were partly responsible for the road accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.
In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.
For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.
What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?
If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).
The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
What if the other party denies liability?
If the defendant denies liability, your solicitor will build the strongest possible case in order to prove that the defendant is responsible for your defective car seat injury. Ultimately the solicitor will issue court proceedings on the defendant. Often this prompts an admission of liability before proceedings begin.
Can I make a defective car seat injury claim right up to the three-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on a defective car seat injury claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.
Low value injury claims - Updated March 2022
The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.
From 31 May 2021, some lower-value injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice's new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.
If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.
Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.
The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.
No Win, No Fee compensation for low value injury claims
Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for prescription costs?
Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the defective car seat injury injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a defective child car seat injury claim take?
How long it can take to settle a defective child car seat injury claim can vary considerably.
A straightforward liability accepted road accident claim could be completed in a couple of months. Product liability claims are more complicated. If the defendant denies liability, a claim can take significantly longer. Usually, a road accident claim takes 4 to 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How does no win, no fee work?
Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a penalty if I withdraw?
Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.