Any auto accident is a terrible story, but when a child is killed as a result of an auto accident, it is even more tragic. In a recent five-car crash, one such tragedy occurred – a 4-year old child was killed when the car it was riding it crashed into a barrier after spinning out of control.  The car then crashed into another vehicle and the child was killed after being thrown from the vehicle. Others involved in the accident were injured, but none of those injuries were life-threatening.

The Importance Of Keeping Children Buckled Up

Seat belts are important for everyone’s safety, and Florida’s laws require everyone to wear one. For small children, though, the requirements are most stringent – rightfully so.  Their small size make them especially vulnerable in an automobile accident and their tiny bodies are easily tossed around like dolls when an impact occurs. Florida’s seat belt law states quite simply that it is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle unless the driver him or herself along with every passenger is using a seat belt or child restraint seat. Further, the driver is responsible for buckling up the child. Individual restraint requirements depend upon the age of the child; but generally all children age five or under must be in a child-restraint seat that is federally approved and crash tested. Florida Code Section 316.613 sets forth the exact requirements for seat belt and child restraint seats for children ages four and five when special circumstances exist. In general, for these four- and five-year-olds, a child seat as described above for children three and under may be used, or alternately a child booster seat may be used. However, a safety belt may be used in cases such as the following:

  • a non-family member is transporting the child ‘gratuitously’;
  • the child is being transported due to a medical emergency; or
  • the child has a documented medical condition that requires an exception to the seat belt requirement.

Exception For Hired Transportation Services

Interestingly, Florida law provides for an exception to the child restraint requirements in a transportation scenario involving chauffeur-driven vehicles such as limos, buses, or taxis when the driver is hired and the vehicle is one used for paid transportation. In these situations, the child’s safety is the responsibility of the child’s parent or guardian; the hired driver does not bear the responsibility of buckling up the child.

When Auto Accidents Occur, Contact An Experienced Attorney To Learn Your Rights

If you or your loved one has been involved in an auto accident, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries. Attorneys are available to help you determine your best course of action and will be able to help you understand a legal system that is often complicated and complex. You should not wait to get started – the law limits the time you have to take action after you have been injured in an accident. Contact an auto accident attorney in Miami today to find out what you may be able to recover and how to pursue what you are entitled to receive.

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