Defective Child Car Seats
While adults typically can safely ride in vehicles without any additional devices, infants and young children should ride in car seats. To minimize the risk of harm, it is important that parents not only choose a seat that is appropriate for their child but also that they install it correctly. Unfortunately, even diligent parents cannot avoid injuries caused by products that have latent defects. If your child suffered harm due to a defective child car seat, you have the right to seek compensation, and it is smart to confer with an attorney promptly. The dedicated Mobile product liability lawyers of Tobias & Comer Law, LLC, understand the frustration parents feel when their children suffer preventable harm, and we will work tirelessly to help you seek a just outcome.Selecting and Properly Installing a Child Car Seat
Under Alabama law, anyone driving a child in a vehicle on a state road or highway must be properly secured as appropriate for the age and weight, in compliance with Alabama Code Section 32-5-222. Under this Section, infants who are under the age of one or weigh less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing seat that is for infants only or convertible. Children between one and five years old or who weigh less than 40 pounds must be secured in a forward-facing car seat. Finally, children between the ages of five and six must be secured in booster seats.
When selecting a seat, parents should assess their child’s weight and age to determine what is suitable. They should also assess whether any recalls have been issued for the product they choose. Generally, newer products are safer, as they are less likely to suffer from defects caused by wear and tear or misuse. It is also essential that parents install their child’s seat correctly. There are numerous certified child passenger safety technicians in Mobile and nearby cities that parents can contact either to install car seats or to inspect car seats parents have installed to ensure they are installed correctly.Establishing Liability for a Defective Child Car Seat
Unfortunately, even parents who take the measures necessary to protect their children by selecting and installing appropriate car seats are unable to prevent losses caused by unsafe seats. While no amount of money can remedy harm sustained by an innocent child, Alabama law allows parties injured by defective products to pursue damages from the parties responsible for manufacturing, supplying, or selling the products in product liability lawsuits.
Generally, there are three theories of liability plaintiffs can assert in product liability lawsuits in Alabama: strict liability via Alabama’s Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (AEMLD), negligence, and breach of warranty. Pursuant to the AEMLD, a plaintiff alleging harm caused by an unsafe product must show that the product in question reached the ultimate user without being substantially altered and that it caused injuries due to a defective condition that made it unreasonably dangerous. In evaluating whether strict liability should be imposed, the court will assess whether the product met the reasonable safety expectations of an ordinary consumer.
Products may be unsafe due to a design or manufacturing defect or due to the failure to warn users of the risks associated with its use. If an alleged defect arose in the design, the plaintiff must demonstrate the availability of a safer alternative design, whereas a manufacturing defect is caused by a deviation from the intended, safe design.
Anyone transporting a child in a vehicle should ensure that they are safely secured in an appropriate restraint, but child car seats do not always perform as expected. If your child suffered injuries due to a defective child car seat, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Mobile lawyers of Tobias & Comer Law, LLC, are proficient at handling product liability cases, and we can advise you of your rights and help you seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. We represent people harmed by defective products in Mobile and throughout Alabama. You can contact us via our form online or at (251) 432-5001 to set up a meeting.