In 2021, car accidents injured or killed hundreds of children under the age of 8. Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented if the driver had secured the child in an appropriate car seat as required by Texas law.
Child car seats not only reduce the risk of death but also reduce the risk of serious injury by preventing the child from getting ejected from the vehicle. The injuries suffered by unrestrained children range from minor bumps and bruises to fatal brain and spinal cord injuries.
How George Salinas Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in San Antonio, TX
George Salinas Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm founded 12 years ago to provide legal representation to accident victims in San Antonio, Texas. Our lead attorney has over 17 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured clients.
When you hire our San Antonio car accident lawyers to represent you, you will receive:
- A free consultation to discuss your case and advise you about your rights
- A team committed to the values of fairness, trustworthiness, and client loyalty
- A record of over 1,300 cases resolved for the maximum compensation available
A car accident injury can disable you from performing your daily activities, including working and caring for your family. Our trusted legal team can handle virtually every aspect of your claim for compensation while you focus on your recovery.
Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your accident and the compensation you can pursue for your injuries.
How Many Children Are Involved in Traffic Crashes?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 75,926 children under the age of 8 were involved in traffic accidents in 2021. Of these, 97.2% were secured by a child restraint system.
The children who were not restrained were more likely to get injured or killed:
- 1.1% of unrestrained children died, compared to 0.05% of restrained children
- 4.7% of unrestrained children suffered serious injuries, compared to 0.4% of restrained children
- 10.8% of unrestrained children suffered minor injuries, compared to 3.0% of restrained children
Most importantly, 86.6% of children in child car seats were completely uninjured in their crashes. However, just 68.1% of children without child car seats walked away from their accidents uninjured.
Requirements for Child Car Seats in Texas
When you have a traffic accident with your child in the car, the forces of the crash get transmitted into the child’s body. Without a car seat, your child will get tossed about, colliding with the interior of your vehicle.
In a worst-case scenario, your child could even get ejected when unrestrained. As a result, they might suffer broken bones, brain injuries, or death.
Child car seat laws in Texas do not apply to motorcycles, school buses, or transit buses. The laws do apply to all other passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks.
Car seat laws in Texas require:
- Children under 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall must ride in a child passenger safety seat system
- Children over 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall can wear a seat belt rather than ride in a car seat
Instead of specifying the type of car seat, Texas only instructs drivers to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, this means:
- Infants must travel in rear-facing car seats until they outgrow them
- Toddlers must ride in a front-facing car seat with a five-point harness and headrest
- Grade school children can ride in a booster seat with the vehicle’s seat belt until they turn 8 or grow taller than 4 feet 9 inches, whichever happens first
The exact transition criteria depend on the instructions included with each car seat.
Penalties for Failing To Use Child Car Seats
If you get cited for having an unrestrained child passenger, a judge can fine you $25 to $250. You may be able to get your ticket dismissed if:
- You subsequently obtained a child car seat
- The police cited you only for the car seat violation
- You were not involved in a motor vehicle accident
If an unrestrained child gets injured, you face more serious consequences.
Texas uses comparative fault to determine how much compensation you can pursue. If you bear 20% of the blame for your child’s injuries, you can only collect 80% of your child’s losses. You also cannot recover damages if you bear 51% or more of the blame.
Child safety seats reduce the risk of injury and death. As a result, you will likely bear some liability for your child’s injuries if you fail to secure them in a car seat.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Antonio Car Accident Lawyers
When your child gets injured in a car accident, you need an experienced lawyer to fight for your child’s future. Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your child’s injuries and the compensation you can seek.