There’s no doubt about it – car seats keep kids safe. In the event of a car accident, an age-appropriate and properly installed car seat can save a child’s life and minimize the risk of serious injury.
That’s why many states, including Alabama, have strict rules and regulations about child restraint systems.
The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, PC, have created this overview of Alabama’s child car seat laws to help you understand your legal rights and options.
If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm in Mobile, AL to talk.
An Overview of the Child Car Seat Laws in the State of Alabama
Section 32-5-222 of the Alabama Code states that:
“Every person transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system.”
The exact car seat required for a child in the state of Alabama depends on their age and their weight. For instance, the law mandates that infants use a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one year old or 20 pounds.
Children in Alabama must use convertible seats in the forward position or front-facing seats until they are five years of age or 40 pounds. They can then use booster seats until they reach their sixth birthday.
Alabama state law also requires that children continue to wear seat belts when traveling in a car until they turn 15.
Exceptions to Alabama’s Child Car Seat Laws
The Alabama Code states that every person who transports children must use a restraint system to keep them safe and secure. However, legislators included some noteworthy exceptions to this law for parties such as:
- Drivers of taxis, and
- Drivers of vehicles that can carry 11 or more passengers
Under Alabama law, these groups of motorists do not have to employ the use of child passenger restraints.
Punishments for Violating Alabama’s Child Car Seat Laws
Law enforcement officers in Alabama expect everyone who does not have an exemption from the state’s child car seat laws to follow them carefully. If officers catch a driver violating these regulations, they have the power to issue them a ticket.
When a motorist receives a ticket of this nature, they must typically pay a fine of $25. Under state law, $15 of this charge goes to the Comptroller of the Department of Public Health, who uses it to provide child car seats to low-income families.
People who violate Alabama’s child car seat laws can typically get a judge to dismiss their fine by providing proof of acquisition of a suitable restraint system.
However, this fine is not the only penalty the state hands out to motorists who violate its child car seat regulations. The Department of Public Safety also assesses penalty points to negligent drivers.
First-time offenders generally receive one point, while repeat violators get two points.
How Do Alabama’s Child Car Seat Laws Compare to Federal Guidelines?
Alabama legislators created the state’s car seat laws to keep kids safe on the road. However, there are some notable differences between the rules outlined in Ala. Code § 32-5-222 and the recommendation of the experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Laws in the Yellowhammer State insist that children use a rear-facing seat until they turn one. However, the NHTSA suggests that kids should remain in this type of safety device until they reach its height or weight limit. This milestone may not occur until their third birthday.
Rules in the state of Alabama require kids to travel in a front-facing safety seat until they are five years old or 40 pounds. The experts at the NHTSA recommend keeping them in a device of this nature until they exceed the height or weight limit noted by the manufacturer – something that usually happens before their seventh birthday.
In the state of Alabama, children must remain in a booster seat until their sixth birthday. According to federal guidelines, however, they should stay in this type of safety device until they can wear a seat belt properly.
Where Can Alabama Parents Get Help Installing a Child Safety Seat?
It can be tricky to install a child car safety seat properly. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), parents in the United States make errors during the installation process around 49 percent of the time. These mistakes can make the device less safe for their children to use.
Fortunately, help is available for parents who want to make sure that their child’s restraint is safe for use. By visiting the NHTSA’s website, they may get in touch with a local Child Passenger Safety Technician who can take a look at their seat and make any necessary adjustments.
Most places in Alabama have multiple technicians, so parents should not have any trouble finding one near them.
Understanding the Dangers of Defective Child Car Seats in Alabama
Child safety seats exist to keep kids safe and secure in the event of a car accident. However, they can only achieve this objective if they are free of defects and flaws. A poorly-made restraint system can be ineffective and dangerous.
A short sampling of some of the most common flaws and defects found in child car seats in the state of Alabama would include:
- Broken adjusters
- Flammable materials
- Cracked or chipped frames
- Ripped or frayed straps
- Faulty latches
When children get into car accidents while traveling in a car seat with one or more of these defects, they can suffer a wide range of injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Eye injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Facial disfigurement
These injuries can cause children a great deal of pain. In some instances, they can even leave victims with permanent disabilities or life-long health challenges.
When kids sustain injuries in auto accidents, they generally require quite a lot of medical treatment – from surgery to physical therapy. Though these procedures are necessary, they can also be incredibly expensive. It is not at all unusual for the parents of injured children to incur tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare bills.
Quite often, the best way for people to obtain the money needed to cover these costs is to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective car seat.
If you need help pursuing a claim of this nature, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the skilled personal injury lawyers at Lattof & Lattof, PC. We have been handling these types of cases for years, and we are always ready to fight for our neighbors in Mobile.
How Lattof & Lattof, PC, Can Help with Your Defective Car Seat Case
Hiring a knowledgeable Mobile personal injury lawyer from Lattof & Lattof, PC, is a superb way to protect your child’s health and your financial future in the aftermath of a car accident. Here are just a few of the ways our firm can assist you with your defective safety seat lawsuit:
- Analyze the specifics of your case and assess your damages
- Walk you through your potential legal options
- Launch an investigation into the cause of the flaw in your car seat
- Fill out and file your legal paperwork with the court
- Help you understand how the Alabama legal system functions
- Answer any questions you might have about the legal process
- Look for relevant evidence that might help to prove your claims
- Devise a customized legal strategy for your product liability lawsuit
- Speak with relevant experts about the nuances of your case
- Offer you astute legal advice at every stage of your case
- Communicate with the defendant’s legal team on your behalf
- Negotiate a settlement agreement with the defendant’s insurer
- Argue on your behalf in court, if necessary
Do you want to have a skilled product liability lawyer from Lattof & Lattof, PC, help you pursue the compensation you deserve? If so, please give us a call today to set up a free consultation at our Mobile law offices. We are ready, willing, and able to assist you in any way we can.
Compensation Available in Alabama Defective Car Seat Lawsuits
When flawed or defective car seats cause children to suffer injuries, their parents can usually pursue compensation for their:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitative care costs
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The parents of children who suffer injuries that leave them with long-term disabilities generally receive the most substantial compensatory awards.
Would you like to have an experienced personal injury attorney assist you with your pursuit of compensation? Then please get in touch with Lattof & Lattof, PC, as soon as possible. Our team has handled a plethora of cases like yours over the years, and we are ready to stand up for you.
Need More Details About the Alabama Child Car Seat Laws? Contact Our Mobile Law Firm Today
If you need more information about the Alabama child car seat laws or an attorney to help you file a product liability lawsuit, you can always rely on Lattof & Lattof, PC. Our team has the knowledge and experience required to provide you with the assistance you need. Reach out to us today to set up a free consultation at our offices in Mobile.