If a child isn’t in a car seat and gets hurt in minor crash am I responsible?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a child isn’t in a car seat and gets hurt in minor crash am I responsible?

I got into an accident about a year ago, I
accidentally ran a red light and it caused
someone to rear end me. The woman who I got
into the accident with had more that 5 kids in
her car and most of them did not have car
seats. A year after the accident she is now
trying to get money from me because she
claims one of her kids still have medical
problems. What should I do? Am I responsible
for paying even though they weren’t properly
restrained in car seats?

Asked on July 12, 2017 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were at fault in the accident, you are liable for the injury to the occupant of the other vehicle.
However, CA has comparative negligence which means that if both parties are negligent, then each bears a percentage of liability.
Therefore, you are not 100% liable for the injury to the unrestrained kid because the driver of the other car is negligent for violating the law requiring kids to be restrained in child seats when riding in a vehicle. 
Your liability for the injury (medical bills and pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills) should be less than 100% due to the negligence of the other party in not restraining the kid.
It would be advisable to have your insurance company handle the matter instead of you speaking directly with the other party.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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