Parents count on their car seats to protect children in the event that an Atlanta motor vehicle crash occurs. Unfortunately, not all car seats work effectively. When a car seat has a design defect or a manufacturing flaw, children are put at grave risk of injury. Manufacturers have an obligation to carefully test all car seats before they are released in order to ensure that there are no problems with the products. If a defective car seat does make it to the marketplace, the company must act promptly to recall it… hopefully before any kids suffer harm.
Unfortunately, it appears that there is a chance the car seat manufacturer Graco may not have done what it was supposed to. If it turns out that the company failed its customers and that kids suffered damages as a result, parents may be able to sue with the help of an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.
NHTSA Investigates Car Seat Recall Process
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it is launching a special investigation into how Graco handled the recall of car seats the company had manufactured.
Graco has recalled more than six million defective car seats in 2014. This is described as “the largest child seat recall in history.” The car seats had to be recalled because they had a defect causing the buckles to stick or to get stuck in the latched position. This problem could create “an unreasonable risk to a child’s life in the event of an emergency.”
Graco did not institute this recall until it faced extensive pressure from the NHTSA. The agency believes that the company may not have acted quickly enough, despite the fact that it either knew or reasonably should have known about the serious problems with the car seats.
When motor vehicle equipment has a problem or a safe-related defect, the manufacturer must notify the NHTSA within a period of five business days. Since Graco did not do this, the NHTSA is investigating whether a violation of the law occurred.
If it turns out that Graco broke the rules, then the car seat maker could face penalties of as much as $35 million in fines. The GROW America Act, which is a four-year reauthorization bill, may raise this cap. Congress established the cap on civil fines assessed by the NHTSA and there is a proposal under consideration that would raise the cap to $300 million in civil damages.
Any fines that Graco is expected to pay to the NTHSA will be separate from the potential settlement monies or damages awarded to plaintiffs whose children suffered harm as a result of a problem with the latch on their car seats. Individuals and families affected by the defect will need to pursue their own legal action through a personal injury, wrongful death or mass tort case to get compensation for personal losses.
The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. have extensive experience in cases arising from truck collisions. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of an Atlanta truck collision.