Car seat Accident Replacement Law

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According to the AA around 5,000 children under the age of 16 die or are seriously injured in car accidents in Britain each year, with nearly two in three road accidents involving children happening when children are walking or playing near roads.

This means that around one in three of these road accidents involves children who are passengers in vehicles.

Although there are scant statistics documenting the full extent of the problem, a number of these incidents will involve injuries suffered by children who, by law, should have been restrained in a car seat but were not. This is a significant problem: if a car accident occurs, a child who is unrestrained can be thrown out of the car or thrown forward with a force that is 30 to 60 times their weight, greatly increasing the risk of serious or fatal injury.

Child car seat law

Car drivers are legally bound to make sure that any child in their car under the age of 12 or less than 135 cm in height is properly restrained in a seat that is suitable for their size, age and weight. Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E' in a circle.

Children with disabilities or medical conditions are also subject to the same rules. However, they can use a disabled person's seat belt or a child restraint that is adapted to their needs. Children with certain medical conditions may be given an exemption certificate if they are unable to use a restraint or seat belt.

If complied with, this law should significantly reduce the risk of the child being killed or injured, should they be involved in a car accident.

Using the correct car seat for your child

The car seat you choose will be based either on your child's height or weight.

Height based seats, or "i-Size" seats will be rear facing until your child is over 15 months old. Using your child's height to determine the right size of car seat can be easier to establish than by weight. These seats must conform to EU safety regulation ECE R129, and are designed to offer greater protection in side impacts than forward facing car seats.

Rear-facing i-Size car seats must be fitted to an ISOFIX fitting so that the seat is securely fitted to your vehicle's frame. There are some cars which are not suitable for i-Size seats, so you will need to check before you make a purchase.


Weight-based seats must conform to EU safety regulation ECE R44 and come in various "groups" which cover a spread of different weights and ways of securing your child.

0KG TO 10KGWEIGHTSEATSGROUP 0Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness.Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness.Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield.Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield.Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield.0KG TO 13KGGROUP 0+9KG TO 18KGGROUP 115KG TO 25KGGROUP 222KG TO 36KGGROUP 3

For more information on child car seats and the law relating to their use, visit the Gov.UK website. RoSPA also has a really useful guide on Choosing and Using Child Car Seats.

Replacing a Child Car Seat After an Accident

A child car seat that that has been involved in a crash involving high impacts should be replaced, even if you can see no sign of damage. This is because the forces which occur in collisions can weaken a car seat to such an extent that it may not provide adequate protection in the event of a further collision.

You should also check seat belts and any attachments to be sure there is no sign of stress or any damage. If a car seat needs replacing, your insurer should do this as a matter of course.

There are some incidences when it may not be necessary to replace place a child's car seat following an accident, for example:

  • The car suffered little or no damage
  • It was a very low speed collision
  • The car seat was empty at the time of the accident

Regular checks of a car seat's integrity should be undertaken, even when no accidents have occurred. If you have any uncertainty at all about whether the car seat needs replacing, you should always err on the side of caution.

Thompsons, a Leading Personal Injury Firm in Scotland

You should be able to include the cost of a replacement car seat as one of the items in your car accident compensation claim. In fact, you don't need to wait until the compensation claim is completed – speak to us. We can usually get you a new one straight away, and claim the cost from the insurance company involved.

How much could you claim? Call 0800 0891331 for free legal advice.

It can be a daunting experience being involved in a car accident.

Car accidents can be costly and painful; you may suffer physical injuries – from the relatively minor, such as mild whiplash, to the serious or long-term, such as a traumatic brain or spinal injury – and you may also have psychological ‘injuries', such as post traumatic stress syndrome and depression.

On top of this, you may be fearful of getting back on the road and driving. You may become overly-sensitive to the sights and sounds or the road, particularly anything that is sudden, unexpected or hazardous, and driving may become a painful reminder of the car accident you have experienced.

If this sounds familiar, you may find it helpful to begin your reintroduction to motoring gently, by simply being a passenger. Get used to sitting in a car and being driven before you think about getting back behind the wheel. If you can, travel with someone who you know to be a careful and responsible driver.

Counselling or therapy may be an option, as talking to someone or seeking professional help may help you work through the event and come to terms with its consequences. All of the following types of therapy may offer some benefit to a driver experiencing anxiety following a car accident:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Counselling
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping)

Finally, when you do get back on the road, start with short trips close to your home so that you do not feel daunted or stranded. You can take longer trips after a while, when you feel ready for it. This should enable you to become gradually become more confident about driving.

Vehophobia – Fear of driving

The word “vehophobia” is derived from the Latin word for drive, ‘veho’ and the Greek word for fear, ‘phóbos’. Vehophobia is slightly different from amaxophobia, the fear of being in a vehicle, and hodophobia, which is term used for the fear of traveling.

In a way it is not always helpful to categorise people who are experiencing post-accident fear in this way. This is because it is natural and normal to be fearful of something that has caused you harm and/or alarm. This is why it is probably more useful to think of any post-crash anxiety about driving you may be experiencing as a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Improve Your Driving Confidence

For many a defensive driving course may be the best way to regain confidence following a car accident. By improving your driving skills you can feel assured that you have the best possible chance of responding positively to any hazardous situation you might face while on the road.

There are other benefits too: being back behind the wheel, but on your terms and in a situation in which you are working towards a positive outcome, can help reduce any anxiety you might feel.

Compensation for a car accident with Thompsons

If you or anyone in your family has suffered injuries in car accident, please do not hesitate to contact Thompsons specialist personal injury solicitors on 0800 0891331. We will help you take your first steps to receiving the compensation that you deserve. Our service is available on a no win, no fee basis.

To find out more about the claims process following a car accident, please click here.

In all European Union Member States vehicle owners are required by law to have minimum cover of third party liability insurance.

If you have been involved in a car accident or any other type of road traffic accident and the driver to blame for the accident is insured, you can claim compensation from the insurer.

Under the terms of the European Communities (Rights against Insurers) Regulations 2002, as a claimant you can choose to issue court proceedings directly against the driver's insurer rather than the driver themselves. There are many advantages to claiming against an insurance company rather than an individual.

Applying ECRAIR in the UK

The regulations apply to any situation in the UK in which a car accident is 'caused by, or arising out of, the use of any insured vehicle'. This means that the vehicle and its driver must satisfy the insurance criteria listed in section 145 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

'Vehicle' in this context means any motor vehicle or trailer which is registered, or normally based, within the UK and, crucially, is not rail-going.

In effect, this means that ECRAIR cannot help road accident victims who have been involved in incidents cause by foreign-based lorries or, for example, an Edinburgh tram.

In cases where a Scottish claimant has an ECRAIR claim in tort arising out of a qualifying car accident they may begin proceedings against the insurance company covering the vehicle. The insurer in such cases 'shall be directly liable to the entitled party to the extent that he is liable to the insured person.'

More on what the law says

Section 3 of the regulations state that the insurers of a driver who is to blame for an accident "shall be directly liable" if the following conditions are met:

  • The entitled party has a cause of action arising out of an "accident". Accident is defined by Regulation 2(1) as meaning an accident on a road or other public place in the United Kingdom; and
  • The entitled party has a cause of action against "an insured person in tort", defined by ss. 2(1) and 2(3) as a person insured under the insurance policy.

Claim compensation with Thompsons, specialists in car accident litigation

At Thompsons we have a specialist team of no win, no fee lawyers who are dedicated to obtaining you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to quickly and efficiently.

If you or your family has been injured in a car crash or road traffic accident in the last three years contact us free on 0800 0891331 or complete the compensation claim form and we will help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled.

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