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Road traffic accident news

Road accident compensation lawyers

Home > Personal Injury > Road Traffic Accidents > Car Passengers > Compensation claims advice - road traffic accidents involving seat belts and child restraints

Compensation claims advice – road traffic accidents involving seat belts and child restraints

Personal injury compensation claims

The most common type of personal injury compensation claims are those for road traffic accidents and many of them involve car passengers as well as the driver. In some cases, the injury will be the result of failure to wear a seat belt, or because the seat belt was not appropriate for the particular passenger.

There are many circumstances regarding the wearing of seat belts and the use of child restraints with seat belts, which might mean you have a valid compensation claim for a personal injury, received in a road accident.

Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to serious life-changing disabilities. And of course, sadly there are sometimes fatalities. This is particularly traumatic if the injured person, or the person who has died, is a child.

Here at Clear Answers, our personal injury claim lawyers understand that in these circumstances, you need compensation claims advice from someone who can manage your accident claim sympathetically, but quickly, to ensure you receive the full personal injury compensation you deserve. In cases of very serious injury, interim payments are often crucial in getting treatment and facilities to help the injured person recover, or rebuild their lives. Clear Answers’ personal injury solicitors, Thompsons Solicitors, have a strong reputation for fighting hard to win the appropriate personal injury compensation for people suffering serious injuries.

Whiplash compensation claim for driver in multiple-vehicle road accident

Almost home from work one day, this client, through no fault of his own, was involved in a road traffic accident whilst he waited to turn right at a busy junction.

Our specialist road traffic accident lawyers were forced to issue court proceedings when the defendant’s insurers refused to respond to a request for an interim payment to fund ongoing treatment. During the proceedings, we were eventually able to secure an interim payment of several thousand pounds towards these costs. Before the date of the trial however, we were then able to negotiate over £20,000 in road accident compensation for our client.
More about Whiplash compensation claim for driver in multiple-vehicle road accident

More seatbelt news stories

Please select one of the links below for more information on the use of seatbelts and how Clear Answers may be able to help you if you have a valid claim for road accident compensation.

Clear Answers specialises in road traffic accident compensation

We specialise in all types of road traffic accidents and will be happy to provide expert, sympathetic and comprehensive accident claim advice about whether you have a valid car passenger compensation claim.

Clear Answers are experts in all types of road traffic accidents, including those involving car passengers. If you have been injured, or perhaps a family member has suffered a personal injury, please contact Clear Answers on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers.

We have a team of personal injury lawyers, experts in road traffic accident compensation claims, with the right experience to help you. We will be happy to talk you through the claims process and provide expert legal advice on whether or not you have a valid claim. Alternatively, you may wish to complete one of our online compensation claim forms and a representative will contact you as soon as possible.

Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury compensation claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim, or our gathering information and evidence section for details on what to do if you are involved in an accident.

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Making a claim for compensation against a relative

Often, we can be reluctant to bring a claim for compensation against a partner, friend or relative. For example, your child may have suffered serious injury during an accident because they were allowed to travel in the car without a seat belt. As it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure all passengers under 14 wear an appropriate seat belt and / or child restraint or seat, it may be possible to bring a personal injury compensation claim against the driver. As the compensation and legal costs would be paid by their insurer, you should still pursue a claim if you, or a family member, have been involved in a road traffic accident in circumstances such as these.

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Information and guidance on seat belt and child restraint legislation

Since 1983, in order to reduce the risk of personal injury if the vehicle were to be involved in a road traffic accident, it has been compulsory to wear seat belts in the front seats. In 1989, to reduce further the number and extent of personal injuries, it became compulsory for those under 14 to wear seat belts in the rear of the vehicle and since 1991 it has been compulsory for adults to wear seat belts in the rear seats.

In September 2006, a new law, The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, came into force which sets out the legal requirements to protect children travelling in cars.

All small children will have to use some form of child seat, which must be used in conjunction with an appropriate restraint. A small child is one who is under 12 and is less than 135 cm in height.

A large child is one who is under 14 and who is not a small child, i.e. who is over 12 or taller than 135cm in height. A large child must wear an adult seat belt.

The responsibility for ensuring that all children are correctly restrained is on the driver of the vehicle for any child under 14. If a child under 14 is injured as a car passenger in a road traffic accident, and they were not wearing the appropriate child restraint or seat belt, they, or their parent or guardian, may be able to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation against the driver of the vehicle in which they were travelling.

For passengers who are over 14, the responsibility rests with the passenger. In the event that you are injured in a road traffic accident, and were not wearing a seat belt at the time, this could have the affect of reducing the amount of compensation that you may be awarded. Seat belts are designed to minimise any personal injury received during an accident, so the failure to wear one may be considered to have increased the injuries which would have been sustained in any event

It is estimated by Think Road Safety, part of the Department of Transport, that over 2,000 lives could be saved each year by wearing a seat belt.

For more information on this legislation, click on one of the links below:

There are also additional safety considerations to be taken into account in the use of child restraints or seat belts when airbags are fitted. For more information on the use of airbags, and your responsibilities for ensuring passenger safety and reducing personal injury, please visit our Airbags – Information and guidance on the law and your responsibilities section.

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Child and Baby Seats

From May 2008, child and baby seats must be marked with an E and 44.03, or .03, or .04 to indicate they meet the UN ECE regulation 44.03, or the more recent standard, 44.04.

In order to reduce the risk of personal injury during an accident, the type of child seat or booster seat changes as the child grows. There is some overlap between the types of restraint which are suitable for each weight ranges. General guidance is set out below although you should refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for each product. Currently, legislation requires the following to be provided:

Group 0
Babies with a weight up to 13kg (approximately from birth to 9/12 months)

Babies may travel in either the front or the rear of the car but must be in a rear facing baby seat, with inbuilt harness. Rear facing child seats should not however be used in the front seat if an airbag is fitted and active.

Group 1
Babies with a weight between 9 - 18kg (approximately 9 months to 4 years)

A child seat which is forward facing must be fitted which can be used either in the front or rear of the car. The child seat should include a harness with a crotch strap to avoid the baby sliding forward in the event of an accident, potentially minimising the level of personal injury suffered by the baby.

Group 2
Children who weigh in excess of 15kgs (from approximately 4 years of age)

At 4 years, the child may change to use a forward facing booster seat (with back) rather than the more restrictive child seat. It can be used in either the front or the rear of the car together with an adult seat belt.

Group 3
Children who weigh in excess of 22kgs (from approximately 6 years of age)

A forward facing booster cushion is sufficient to raise the child to the correct position to use the adult seat belt. It can be used in either the front or rear of the car.

If your child is still under 12 but weighs more than 36kg, to minimise the extent of personal injuries received during a road traffic accident, it is recommended that they continue to use the booster until they reach 12 years of age.

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Children 3 to 12 years

If travelling in the front seat, children age 3 and over and under the age of 12 will have to be provided with some form of booster and restraint unless they are taller than 135cm (4ft 5in).

This means that where not already fitted, drivers carrying children between 3 and 12 will have to make sure they have an appropriate restraint, as described above.

A child under 12 may travel in the rear of a car without restraint if they are not fitted, but no child under 3 will be allowed to travel without the appropriate seat belt and restraints. The only exception to this in respect of children under 3, is if the child is travelling in the rear of a taxi where restraints are unavailable.

For children between 3 and 12, there are a few situations in which they can travel in the rear of a vehicle where the correct child restraint is not available, but only if they wear the adult seat belt. These are as follows:

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Children 12 to 14 years

Children in this age range are allowed to sit in the front seat wearing the adult seat belt. If they are under 12 but over 1.35 metres in height, they are also allowed to sit in the front seat wearing the adult seat belt.

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All children

Emergency vehicles are exempt from these requirements, e.g. police cars, or ambulances.

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Encouraging a child to use a child seat or booster

Many parents find difficulty in persuading their child to use a child seat or booster. In order to encourage their use, and thereby minimise personal injuries suffered in the event of an RTA, the Department for Transport has compiled some useful hints on how to achieve this, which include:

For more details on these hints and tips go to the Think website which has prepared a useful suggestion list to try to encourage all children to accept and use the new seats.

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Future legislation

All car passengers in any vehicle will have to use an appropriate restraint with the required booster seat or cushion, or a baby or child seat from May 2009.

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Road traffic accidents that we have dealt with

Clear Answers has very many satisfied personal injury clients and extensive experience in dealing with all types of road traffic accidents. To read just a few examples of our successful personal injury compensation claim cases, please go to our section on Road traffic accidents that we have dealt with.

Alternatively, we regularly update information on personal injury compensation claims and other news items which can be found on our News Section.

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Seatbelt personal injury news

Below is just one example of a car passenger accident compensation claim that we have successfully fought. Alternatively, please visit our Personal injury news section to view other successful personal injury compensation claims that Clear Answers solicitors have been involved in.

Rear car passenger receives road accident compensation

When our client in this road accident compensation claim was injured, she was only a minor. As a rear seat passenger, she had been put in the position of travelling with too many passengers for the car and forced to share a seatbelt. Had she not been using any seatbelt at all, her injuries could have been even worse. In spite of that, she still suffered serious and life-changing injuries.

The defendant admitted liability, and we were able to secure an interim payment to alleviate the immediate financial burden on our client’s family. However, our road accident lawyers recommended rejection of several derisory offers and had to issue court proceedings before the other side’s insurers made an offer that we believed was appropriate for our client's serious injuries. The case was then settled before the trial date.
More about Rear car passenger receives road accident compensation

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Useful child seat websites

We hope the links below will provide you with useful information to help make your family safer and reduce the risk of personal injury if your vehicle is involved in a road traffic accident.

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Compensation claims

Clear Answers’ lawyers will be happy to talk to you in plain English, explaining the compensation claims process, and provide you with expert legal advice to answer any questions you may have regarding your claim.

Should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your claim, we have teams of expert personal injury lawyers waiting to help you. We are specialists in all types of road traffic accidents.

If you or a family member was injured in a work related road traffic accident, or one which took place during a personal journey. through no fault of your own, Contact Clear Answers' personal injury solicitors on 0800 783 9019. One of our advisors who will be able to assess whether or not you have a claim. Alternatively fill out one of our online compensation claim forms.

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