A car accident at the intersection of US Highway 17 and Bomber Road in Bartow, Florida resulted in a head trauma to a 4-year-old child on January 4, 2017. The accident happened when Victoria Pedroza attempted to make a left hand turn from US17 onto Bomber Road. She was hit by Christine Stills who was going straight through the intersection at the time of the accident. Ms. Stills’ four-year-old daughter was in a forward facing child seat at the time of the collision but still suffered a head trauma. Still’s child was taken to Tampa General Hospital over concern for a pediatric head trauma. Pedroza was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision and also suffered a head trauma as she struck the windshield of her vehicle.
Need To Know Why This Injury Occurred
This accident was clearly Ms. Pedroza’s fault as she turned directly in front of Ms. Stills. The injury to Ms. Stills’ child is troublesome because the child was in a forward facing car seat as required by law. The news report does not indicate that the child was not seat belted. Therefore, it is possible that the car seat was improperly installed or failed due to a design or manufacturing defect. A properly installed or seat belted child should not suffer a head injury from the back seat even when an accident occurs (unless it’s a side impact).
Traumatic Brain Injury
Because there was a significant head trauma to the child, there is a concern for a traumatic brain injury and brain swelling. It can take up to a day or two after an accident for swelling to become apparent. If brain swelling occurs, then a neurosurgeon will have to cut a flap and remove part of the skull to relieve the pressure. Even when the pressure is relieved, the person still suffers brain damage as the pressure is only partially relieved. Bleeding on the brain is also a significant concern and may require surgery and shunting.
No Comparative Fault If The Child Seat Was Not Properly Installed
By statute, Florida does not allow evidence of a parent’s failure to use or properly install a child safety seat in a case of negligence against the driver who caused the injury pursuant to section 316.613, Fla. Stat. below:
The failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence.
This means that Florida does not punish a child for the omissions or failures of the parents in using child seats and the person who caused the accident does not get to defend on that basis (if true).
Potential For Product Liability Claims
The significance of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to a young child cannot be overstated. There is no doubt that it is a serious injury for which it may take many years for all of the symptoms to fully play out because the child is still growing. This makes it a significant enough case to think about a product liability claim if the child seat was installed properly and failed either due to a defect in design or construction. This claim should be thoroughly investigated and evaluated for the potential for product liability claims because there is likely to be very limited insurance on Ms. Pedroza’s policy and Stills will likely not have enough uninsured motorist’s coverage (UIM).
Call A Lakeland Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one have suffered a head trauma in a car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury, you should contact a Lakeland traumatic brain injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case. You may be glad that you did.