THERE ARE LAWS PROTECTING CHILDREN
Children require specialized treatment for their injuries
Children must ride in vehicles with age, height, and weight specific safety restraints
Property owners must make sure that their property is not accessible to children who might trespass
The standard of care for drivers near a school is higher than other areas, even if “School Zone” signs are not posted
Drive Slowly and Carefully Near Schools and Homes
Laws protecting children take into consideration the proclivities of children. They are not expected to be as careful as adults. They play and chase balls into the street. They don’t always look both ways. They are distracted by mobile phones and are often wearing headphones. If a driver hits a pedestrian child, he is much more likely to be found liable for negligence, especially near schools and homes. A New York City Child Injury Attorney knows exactly what these rules are and how to work them into your child’s case.
Property Owners Must Take Extra Care To Protect Potential Child Trespassers
If an adult went into your backyard and took a swim in your pool, you could call the police and have them arrested for trespassing, but if a child sneaks into your pool and drowns, you are liable for creating an “attractive nuisance.” The law requires property owners to fence off anything that might be dangerous to children, knowing that curious children are likely to trespass, including pools. The underlying basis of laws protecting children is an understanding of their lack of maturity and the reality of the behavior that might be expected.
Children Need Pediatric Specialists to Treat Their Injuries
It is hard enough to find good doctors that accept no-fault insurance and even harder to find pediatric orthopedists, neurologists and other specialists that are needed to treat injured children. A dedicated Child Injury Attorney is a specialist that has experience with pediatric injuries and the experts needed to treat such injuries, along with litigation concerning children. Don’t trust a generalist, when you need a specialist.
New York State’s Occupant Restraint Laws Protecting Children
In New York as well as all across the United States, laws are in place to minimize the risk of injury or death of child passengers, should an accident occur. In New York State, a child restraint system as outlined by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles:
- is required for all children until their 8th birthday;
- must meet the size and weight requirements for the child based on the Federal requirements and the recommendations of the manufacturer;
- can be a child safety seat, a harness, a vest or a booster seat attached with the vehicle seat belt system;
- should not be used in the front seat of the vehicle
Penalties for Non-compliance with Child-Safety Laws in New York State
In New York State, a driver can be fined a minimum of $25 up to a maximum of $100 (which is significantly lower than California’s $475 and $1095 1st and 2nd time offense, respectively) for violating this law. The driver will receive 3 points on their driving record as well.
However, if it is your first time committing this offense, the fine can be waived if you provide the court with proof that between the date on which you are charged with violating this provision and the appearance date for the violation, you purchased or rented a child restraint system that meets the requirements of state law.
What happens if you get into an accident while in violation of these laws?
In New York State, pursuant to Article 33 § 1229-c :
“8. Non-compliance with the provisions of this section shall not be admissible as evidence in any civil action in a court of law in regard to the issue of liability but may be introduced into evidence in mitigation of damages provided the party introducing said evidence has pleaded such non-compliance as an affirmative defense.”
This means that if you have an unrestrained child in your vehicle, and are involved in an accident in which another driver is 100% liable, the recovery, you could have received on behalf of your child, can be lowered due to non-compliance with safety laws.
It is important to note that whether or not you are at fault for an accident you are entitled to No-Fault benefits. If you are struck by a negligent driver, even if you do not have the appropriate restraint system for your child in place, you can still pursue a bodily injury claim. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney as soon as possible if you and your child are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Seek Queens child personal injury attorney, Wittenstein & Wittenstein for a free consultation today.
Taxi & Liveries and Occupant Restraint Laws
Interestingly enough, taxi and liveries operating in New York State are exempt from New York State Occupant Restraint Laws pertaining to child safety seats. Neither drivers or passengers are required by law to have a safety seat when in a taxi/livery. New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) goes even further to say that children under the age of 7 are permitted to sit on an adult’s lap. If a parent has a safety seat however, drivers MUST allow the parent to install the seat.
State law and insurance regulations pertaining to taxi and livery services can be different from those applicable to the general public and quite confusing. If involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney to best protect your rights and get whatever compensation deserved. Wittenstein & Wittenstein has over 60 years of experience with representing taxi and livery drivers involved in car accidents throughout New York City, along with Nassau County.
Here at Wittenstein & Wittenstein, we strongly encourage parents to abide by New York’s Occupant Restraint Laws as it can be a matter of life and death for your child. There are many resources available throughout New York State that provide training, certification and general information on how to best keep your child passengers safe.