A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that 75 percent of children are in the wrong car seat, or ride in improperly installed or buckled seats. While all parents care about their children’s safety, ensuring your child’s car seat is the right one and correctly installed plays an important role in both their safety and in maximizing your accident claim if they suffer injuries. Learn how the wrong child car seat affects car accident claims in Pennsylvania here.
Could not using the right child car seat affect my car accident claim?
Yes, not using the proper child car seat could reduce your accident claim if your child suffers injuries in an accident.
In many cases, the injuries would occur no matter the car seat; however, insurance adjusters often look for any reason to claim comparative negligence (that you were partially at fault for your child’s injuries). This allows the insurer to reduce your settlement, and saves money for the company while costing you more out of your own pocket.
How does Pennsylvania law define the “right” child car seat?
Pennsylvania law outlines safety requirements for child car seats. Under this primary child passenger safety law:
- Babies up to age two must ride in a rear-facing car seat; after age two, the child should remain rear-facing until the child reaches the maximum height or weight limits for the seat.
- Children between ages two and four must ride in an approved and properly installed child car seat, either forward- or rear-facing.
- Children between the ages of four and eight must ride in a booster seat appropriate for their height and weight.
- Children between the ages of eight and 18 must use the car’s seat belt any time the vehicle is on the roadway.
If you violate any of these rules or recommendations, the insurer will likely claim you caused or contributed to your child’s injuries.
Can I still receive full compensation to cover my child’s injuries?
You might still be able to receive full compensation to cover your child’s medical bills and other injury-related losses, even if the child was in the wrong seat during the crash.
This, however, will require proving to the insurance company that your child would have suffered these injuries even if s/he was in the proper restraint. This often requires accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, and a close analysis of your child’s medical records to prove that the injuries occurred solely because the at-fault driver chose to behave negligently.
How can a lawyer help me win this type of claim?
Proving that you do not share liability in your child’s injuries is often almost impossible on your own, especially when you need to focus on helping your child recover. This is why a knowledgeable Pennsylvania car accident lawyer is so important in these cases.
Your lawyer can collect evidence and build a strong case showing that your child’s car seat did not cause or contribute to his/her injuries. This may include:
- Enlisting the help of medical professionals to serve as expert witnesses
- Using other methods to determine the severity of the injuries in the proper seat
- Showing that the seat met the requirements under PA law
Insurance adjusters are not in the business of ensuring your child receives a fair settlement after a car accident. Instead, they want to pay out as little as possible in every claim. Having an attorney on your side can greatly increase your financial recovery in a Pennsylvania accident claim.
How can Cordisco & Saile, LLC help after my child suffers injuries in a Bucks County car accident?
At Cordisco & Saile, LLC, we understand that your top priority after a Pennsylvania car accident is the health and wellbeing of your child. This is why we go to work to fight for a full and just settlement for your child, even when the insurance company tries to blame you for your child’s injuries.
Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled lawyers.