According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, many, many cases that involve defective car seats.
Combining all unintentional injury deaths among those between 0 and 19 years each year, motor vehicle traffic–related accidents claim the most lives. In 2015, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died in car accidents. In 2014, more than 121,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Many young passenger injuries and deaths are preventable. The causes of accidents vary widely, but parents can take measures to reduce the risks on the road for their children.
One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt some of the time. Safe driving behavior and placing kids in appropriately-sized car seats, child seats and booster seats can be the difference between life and death.
Responsibility also lies with the manufacturing of reliable auto safety features and critical safety products like child car seats and baby seats. Car manufacturers and producers of child protection products have a duty to ensure the safety of America’s youth.
A properly designed and correctly used restraint system can reduce the risk of death of infants in passenger cars by up to 70 percent. However, when car seats or baby seats are defective, it may provide no protection at all, and may pose numerous dangers.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati product liability lawyer and experienced Ohio personal injury attorney, well-versed in the science and economic impact auto accidents have on a victim’s life and family.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested 66 infant seats in frontal crashes, and almost half of the seats either separated from their bases or exceeded the expectations of injury. Common defects with infant and child car seats include issues with handles, cheap materials, buckle defects, improper padding and component separation risks.
Design and manufacturing flaws leading to seat recalls have included:
Each year, there are several instances when a manufacturer or a safety agency issues a recall for a defective child seat that fails to protect young passengers. If you believe you have a defective car seat, or an injury has already occurred, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report the problem, and contact an experienced attorney to investigate.
Since 2007, Evenflo has issued seven recalls of child car seats for multiple reasons, including a child’s access to release buttons, difficult-to-unlatch baby seats, defective buckles, structural defects, and accidental or unintentional detachment during a rollover event. One Evenflo model was recalled by the NHTSA for unintentional detachment during side-impact accidents.
Other brands of recalled or defective car seats may include:
The following companies have also issued recent recalls for car seats for children:
A study of five states that increased the child car seat/booster seat age requirement to 7 or 8 years found that the rate of children who sustained fatal or catastrophic injuries decreased by 17 percent. One safety organization recommends the following protocol:
Step 1: Rear-Facing Seats
Infants should start in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. Rear-face until they reach the upper weight and height limits of the seat, past age 2. Keep rear-facing as long as possible. Leg crowding is expected which does not harm the child.
Step 2: Forward Facing Seats with Harnesses
When a child outgrows a rear-facing seat, use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether in the back seat. Use a car seat with a harness and tether until age 5, or until they outgrow the height and weight limits for the harness.
Step 3: Booster Seats
When your child passengers outgrow the forward-facing car seat with harness, use a booster seat. Use a booster seat until an adult seat belt fits correctly.
Step 4: Seat Belts
Child passengers are ready for a seat belt when the shoulder strap crosses the center of the chest and rests on the shoulder (not the neck). The lap belt should fit on the upper thighs near hips (not the stomach). Knees should be able to bend, and feet should be flat on the floor.
Car seat defects and other auto part defect recalls are far more common than most consumers would like to think. But some consumers find out the hard way that products are defective and should be pulled from the market when injuries and deaths occur, in part due to a defect or failure to operate a product correctly.
Child safety seats should be put through a rigorous safety testing process to determine their crashworthiness, though many baby seats on the market turn out to be dangerous and defective. When a car seat causes an injury or fails to work as intended, plaintiffs can file product liability and personal injury lawsuits against the manufacturer.
Because motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, it is critical to take preventative measures. Manufacturers of safe child seats and booster seats have a responsibility to provide consumers with effective products. If child seats are faulty and lead to injuries or deaths, the companies responsible can be held liable for gross negligence and endangering the lives of child passengers.
Many child passenger injuries and deaths in Ohio are considered preventable. Motorists always share in the responsibility with safe driving behavior and placing kids in appropriately-sized car seats and booster seats. Most car safety experts recommend strict car seat laws and car seat education programs in an attempt to decrease injuries and deaths to young passengers.
ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
NO COST UNLESS WE WIN
The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.
Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.
In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a child car seat is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.
A car seat is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:
(1) Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:
These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials.
As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.
(2) Defective design and/or formulation:
Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.
Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design.
(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:
All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning.
The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.
The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.
Risks: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a car seat: (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.
Benefits: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)
A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective car seats, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.
Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.
The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care. Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.
In determining whether a child safety seat is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:
Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims: (1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).
There have been defective car seats recalled over the years and parents are urged to keep current on what products have been recalled.
Child car seats commonly expire between 6 and 10 years from the manufacture date due to wear and tear, changing safety regulations, recalls, and the limits of manufacturer testing.
All children whose weight or height exceeds the specified limit for their car safety seat should use a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly.
Our Firm will help you find the answers. The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered.
Experience: Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.
Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.
Results: Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury, automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases. The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of the largest companies in the world
Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.
Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their Cincinnati product liability lawyer
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law.
(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.
(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.