Holding Manufacturers Liable for Fatalities Caused by Defective Car Seats
Parents put their children in car seats not only because it is the law but because they want their kids to be secure and safe while the car is in motion. Unfortunately, many children have been harmed and even killed as a result of defective car seats.
What’s shocking is that car seat manufacturers are often aware of a specific defective or problem before notifying customers or issuing a recall. In fact, sometimes car seat manufacturers are aware of the problem for years before doing anything to correct the defect. As a result of time ticking away without a resolution to the problem, more and more children suffer at the hands of negligent manufacturers.
Problem with Graco Car Seats
A recent example of a car seat safety issue involves latches on certain Graco car seats. Before issuing a recall, Graco had received over thousands of complaints from concerned parents regarding sticky latches; however, they failed to do anything about it. Because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 135 complaints from parents regarding the difficulty of unbuckling children seated in Graco car seats, they looked into the problem.
After a NHTSA investigation, it was revealed that Graco received over 6,100 complaints from parents about difficult car seat buckles. In some cases, parents couldn’t unlatch the buckle at all, and children had to be cut out of their car seat or rescued by emergency responders. Although Graco didn’t believe the problem to be a safety or mechanical issue, federal investigators feared that children could become trapped inside their car seats during an emergency, which is why they prompted the recall.
Difficult Car Seat Latches Put Children at Risk
At first the recall affected 1.8 million car seats, but Graco expanded the recall to over 3.7 million car seats – making it the largest child car seat recall in history. The recall involved Graco car seats made between 2009 and 2013 with the Signature QT and QT3 buckles due to malfunctioning latches.
Although Graco is offering its new redesigned replacement buckles at no cost, the company has stated for the record that they believe the stuck latches to be the result of food and beverage spills. Interestingly, NHTSA disagrees and has warned parents about the safety of this product.
Recently, U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx announced that Graco will be fined $10 million due to its failure to provide timely notifications to customers regarding car seat defects that places children at risk in an emergency.
Although Graco told federal investigators it didn’t know of any injuries due to the problem with their car seat latches, there was a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the company. The plaintiff alleges that Leiana Ramirez, a two-year-old girl, was killed in a car fire because the Graco Nautilus car seat was difficult to unlatch.
When a car seat gets stuck in a latched position or the buckles become stuck, children are put in danger in the event of car accidents and car fires. If your child has been seriously injured or died as a result of a defective car seat, contact a caring and committed wrongful death attorney in South Florida. You can reach the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 for a free consultation today.