More children are killed by car crashes than by any other single cause (NHTSA, children ages 1 to 12 in the United States).
Maryland Car Seat Laws
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene keeps a list of current Maryland child passenger laws:
– Children under age 8 must be in a child restraint (unless 4’9” or taller)
– Children between ages 8 and 16 must be seat belted if not in a child restraint
– Drivers are responsible for ensuring children are properly restrained
– Children cannot be rear-facing in the front seat with an active air bag
– Children may ride in taxi cabs without car seats
Proper Types and Installation of Car Seats and Booster Seats
There are a number of useful governmental websites devoted to helping parents protect their children with proper car seat selection and installation. Safercar.gov provides information on car seats and booster seats according to age group, and includes recommendations about installation using safety belts and the LATCH system.
Additionally, parents can have their car seat and booster seat installation checked by licensed professionals, including police and fire, schools, and hospitals.
Types of Maryland Child Car Accident Claims
When a child is injured in a car accident, there are several different types of claims that might be brought:
- Negligent caregiver: if the child’s caregiver did not properly restrain the child in an approved car seat or booster seat, that caregiver may be responsible for the child’s injuries (over and above the injuries that would have normally occurred in the accident)
- Negligence: like any other accident, the child (through his/her parents or guardians) would have a claim against the negligent driver
- Product liability: if there is a defect in the car seat or booster seat, the child may have a product liability claim. These cases can be expensive to bring, and are often only possible if the child has serious or permanent injuries, or if the accident is fatal.
Value of a Child’s Car Accident Case
Children involved in an accident may be saved from injury by a properly-installed car seat or booster seat. Regardless, many parents understandably take their children to the emergency room or their pediatrician after a car accident to be safe. Those medical bills are recoverable in a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Even when a child does not sustain injury and receives no medical treatment, children may be able to recover nominal sums in settlement or at trial for the accident. Older children sometimes have nightmares or anxiety caused by car accidents, and those emotional traumas are compensable under Maryland law.
If your child was injured in a car accident, contact us today. We can evaluate your child’s claim, and let you know the expected settlement and trial values of the case. We’re here to help.