Car seat laws in Florida require children aged five and under to be fully restrained in a secure and federally approved device. As the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) shows, children aged 0 to 3 years must be in child restraint devices of a separate carrier, or “a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.”
Finding the proper car seat or restraint device can be challenging, but it can save the life of your child. The FLHSMV suggests finding a car seat that meets the following criteria:
- The seat fits your car
- The seat fits your child
- The seat is easy to use correctly every time
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Improperly Securing Your Child in a Car Seat Can Cost You
Drivers who fail to properly secure their children before driving may face a variety of legal problems. If you are in an accident with another party and you did not secure your child according to Florida state laws, then this could affect the outcome of your case.
More important than legal repercussions is your child’s safety and wellbeing. Using an improper car seat or improperly securing your child can increase their risk of being seriously injured in the event of an accident.
A lawyer from our firm who focuses on car accidents and car seat laws can assist you with your case. Your lawyer can not only examine and interpret Florida state laws and federal laws, but they can also negotiate with other parties related to your case on your behalf.
Seeking a Settlement After an Incident
Although car seats often prevent damage in car accidents, they are not foolproof in all accidents. As information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out, car accidents are a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 13. Numbers like these serve to emphasize the importance of proper safety measures. However, some accidents may render car seats powerless against the force of a collision.
When another driver’s negligent actions cause an accident, victims may be entitled to collect financial compensation through a settlement. Settlement amounts often vary depending on the nature, cause, and severity of the accident. Car seat laws can also impact a victim’s settlement amounts. Potentially recoverable damages that may be awarded to you after a car accident include:
- Pan and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of income
- Psychological and emotional harm
- Vehicle damage
- Medical bills
- Continued care and rehabilitation
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Car Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries for Children
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), thousands of children were passengers involved in traffic accidents in 2020. This is frightening for any parent to hear, but there is good news: restraint devices like booster seats are very effective in keeping children safe from harm during car accidents.
Data on forward-facing child restraint systems shows us that:
- There were 10,672 children in forward-facing restraint systems involved in accidents. 8,540 of these children escaped with no injury whatsoever.
- The majority (1,618) of injured children suffered what the report calls “possible” injuries, while 444 suffered “non-incapacitating” injuries and 66 suffered “incapacitating” injuries.
- Four children suffered fatal injuries while in a forward-facing restraint system.
Obviously, even the relatively low number of child fatalities and serious injuries are too many. If you or your child were injured in a car accident, know that you have rights under Florida law. Those rights include seeking compensation from all parties who caused your accident or your family’s injuries.
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What If a Car Seat Malfunctions?
Car seats, like any other product, may not work as advertised. Perhaps the seat’s design is flawed, making it inherently unsafe, or perhaps the manufacturer used a hazardous material to construct the seat. In either case, your child could be at increased risk of injury if an accident occurs.
To make sure that your child’s car seat is safe, the FLHSMV recommends registering the car seat by mail or online so that the manufacturer can easily contact you if that seat is recalled. You can also check the NHTSA’s website to see if your seat has been recalled.
What to Do After a Car Seat Malfunction
There are laws that compel car seat manufacturers to maintain certain safety standards and to recall dangerous products. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers follow these laws, or they may issue a recall after you have already been in an accident.
If you suspect that your child’s injury was caused or worsened by a defective car seat, it is vitally important that you:
- Get your child proper medical care as quickly as possible
- Follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter
- Consider working with a car accident lawyer to learn more about your rights and legal options
If the manufacturer in any way failed to follow state or national guidelines, that may be grounds for a lawsuit. You can also sue any other party who contributed to the injury-causing accident, including:
- The driver who hit your car
- The driver’s employer, if they were working at the time
- A car part manufacturer
- A mechanic or maintenance team
- A local municipality or whoever is responsible for keeping the road in good repair
The Advantages of Working with a Lawyer from our Firm
As the statute of limitations explains in Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), when you suffer a personal injury in the state of Florida, you are subject to a limited period within which you may take legal action. Victims are permitted to pursue justice by seeking legal counsel and building up a case. However, they must take these actions within the statute of limitations put forth by the state.
Failing to be proactive may leave you with no ability to pursue justice after an incident that results in a personal injury for you or a loved one. Once one of our lawyers takes on your case, they will investigate the accident in full. This often means they will collect various forms of evidence such as:
- Video footage
- Police reports
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Cell phone records
- Witness reports
From here, your lawyer will work to flesh out a complete picture of the accident, including the roles of any other parties. They will then examine the law and the evidence to establish a liable party. Negotiations can take some time, but your lawyer will speak with other parties such as insurance agents and drivers in their pursuit of a potential settlement.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Is Here to Help
Car seat laws in Florida can be difficult to assess and monitor. With so many possible situations unfolding in a car accident, victims often have trouble deciphering their role, both legally and financially. When you have a lawyer with our firm working on your case, you can rest confidently, knowing that we will defend you at every step of the way.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, our attorneys are passionate about offering each one of our clients a comprehensive defense. As part of our legal services, we will examine relevant laws that may play a role in your case as we investigate the subjects of fault and liability.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you pay nothing up front and nothing out of pocket. Also, if we do not achieve a settlement or judgment on your behalf, you pay nothing at all. If we secure a financial award for you, our fees come from your winnings.
We Offer Free Consultations
We will make it our mission to go after any potential settlement amounts that may be owed to you by liable parties. If you are dealing with a legal issue and you need assistance, you can reach us today by calling. You worry about getting better. We take care of everything else. Get started with a free consultation by calling 1-800-747-3733.