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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Oct. 1, 2014

A 5-year-old boy is in serious condition following a car accident this week. The accident occurred when the car in which the young boy was riding collided with a deputy’s patrol car on a Florida road. According to an officer with the Florida Highway Patrol, the marked patrol car was driving east with its lights on when a minivan attempted to make a left turn at an intersection and hit the left rear of the patrol car. The police officer was taken to Florida Hospital with minor injuries. The 5-year-old boy sustained the most serious injuries in the accident, and was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital to receive treatment for his injuries. The driver of the minivan, a 44-year-old woman, sustained minor injuries. Three other children in the car also received injuries that were not very serious.

Parents Are Required to Properly Restrain Child Passengers

It is important for parents to understand Florida’s laws regarding child car restraints because, if a parent fails to properly restrain a child and the child is injured in a car accident, the parent might not be able to receive compensation for the child’s injuries even if another person is at fault for the crash. Under Florida law, every child that is 5 years old or younger must be protected while riding in a car by being restrained in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. If the child is 4 or 5 years old, it is sufficient to place the child in a booster seat as long as the driver of the car is in the child’s immediate family, there is an emergency medical situation, or if the child has medical needs that deem it appropriate for him or her to be sitting in a booster seat. But the requirements are stricter if the child is 3 years old or younger. Those children must be restrained in a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. There are a few exceptions to these rules. For example, these rules do not apply when a child is traveling in a school bus, farm tractor, large truck, or motorcycle.

Failure to Properly Restrain a Child Could Affect Your Driving Record

In addition to possible liability for the child’s injuries in a car accident, the driver of a car who fails to properly restrain a child could be subject to a moving violation. Additionally, Florida law requires that anyone who violates the child restraint laws shall have 3 points assessed against his or her driver license. Although a judge could allow you to attend safety classes in lieu of the penalties against your driving record, violating these statutes could ultimately result in the suspension of your license.

If you or a close family member has been injured in a car accident and would like to speak to an experienced Florida personal injury attorney, contact Mike Walker Law for a consultation.