The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2011, more than 600,000 children rode in vehicles without using child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts at least some of the time. This is quite disturbing when you also consider that a third of the children killed in traffic accidents were not using any safety device at all. However, if your child is injured in a car accident because the other driver was distracted or negligent, or if your child is injured because a safety seat or seat belt functioned defectively, you may be able to obtain compensation for your expenses associated with the injury. If your child is injured by a defective safety device or by a negligent driver in the Chicago area – now or in the future – take your case immediately to an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley.
Making sure that kids are safe should be among everyone’s top priorities. In a renewed push to protect children involved in vehicle accidents from suffering severe injuries, the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois State Police are conducting events to educate drivers regarding how child safety seats are properly used.
Most adults would never consciously put a child at risk, but despite good intentions, that’s exactly what happens in many automobiles. According to Kristi Lafleur, executive director of the Illinois Tollway, “more than 80 percent of safety seats in Illinois are installed incorrectly.”
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for American children between the ages of 12 months and 12 years. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, more than 12,000 Illinois children (age 19 and younger) were injured in traffic accidents in the state in 2011. Making sure that a safety seat is properly installed significantly reduces the risks to a child in the event of a car accident.
When a child is injured in a car crash caused by the negligent action of another driver, the parents can seek damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Similarly, if a defective safety seat or other defective safety device caused an injury to your child, parents can seek damages from the product’s manufacturer or distributor. If your child has suffered due to either of these circumstances, speak at once to experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley.
A good personal injury lawyer will assess your case, will offer you several options, and will work to win the compensation you deserve. You may be reimbursed for your child’s medical expenses, for pain and suffering, and you may even be awarded punitive damages in some cases. Do not hesitate to discuss your case with experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley as quickly as possible.
Safety Seats and Your Child
In the U.S., traffic collisions are the leading cause of death and serious injuries to children between the ages of 3 and 14. One of the smartest steps you can take is to make sure that your child rides in the right car seat, and the car seat is installed correctly. Studies indicate that more than half the car seats now in use for children are either improperly installed or too small or large. If your child is injured in a traffic accident in or near Chicago, speak at once with experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley. If a negligent driver or a defective safety seat is to blame for your child’s injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or a product liability claim to cover your medical costs and other expenses. Here are several suggestions for safety seat usage:
- Keep your baby in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible, usually until the child is about 2 years old. You should find exact height and weight limits printed on the side or back of the seat. Rear-facing seats provide maximum protection for the head, neck, and spine. Make certain that rear-facing children ride in the back seat, away from the airbag.
- When your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, use a forward-facing seat, but keep it in your vehicle’s back seat. Be sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Use the top tether until your child weighs about 40 pounds. Car seats manufactured after February 2014 should include labels to tell you how much your child can weigh and still use the lower anchors and top tether.
- Depending on the seat, children can continue to use most forward-facing seats until they’re 65 to 80 pounds. It’s never too early to begin teaching the importance of seat belts.
A recent CDC study of five states that extended the age requirements for car seat and booster seat use found that the number of children sustaining “fatal or incapacitating injuries” decreased by almost 20 percent in those states. Using the right car seat for your child’s size and weight, as well as taking the right steps to install it, are both essential to your child’s safety. Take the time to find out which seats best fit your children, and stay up-to-date on safety information and recall alerts regarding the devices you’re using. Doing so will help you keep your child safe in the car at all times.
Despite your best efforts at safety, accidents can still happen. If you, your child, or another family member has suffered a personal injury in a traffic collision caused by another driver’s negligence, or if you or your child are injured because of a defective safety device, you may be entitled to compensation for you or your child’s medical expenses and pain and suffering.
If your child has been injured in a traffic accident – or is injured in the future – consult a good personal injury lawyer immediately. A skilled personal injury attorney can investigate the crash to determine if you have grounds for a personal injury claim or a product liability lawsuit. Nothing is more important than your child’s health and future. If your child is injured in an accident in Chicago, speak to experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley as soon as possible.