LONDON, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Motorists are being warned to ensure their passenger door child locks are activated, after a young boy suffered horrific injuries when he climbed out of the back of a parked car and into the path of a lorry.
The two-year-old suffered devastating, life-changing injuries after the incident, and the boy's family have subsequently been embroiled in a prolonged legal battle over liability. Katie Pendower, a serious injuries specialist with Fentons Personal Injury Solicitors LLP, said that now the issue of liability was finally resolved and an interim payment had been secured, negotiations could begin over compensation to help the family provide the specialist care and treatment the child needs, both now and in the future.
"This case serves as a stark warning to anyone who ever has children in their car," said Mrs Pendower, a partner with the firm. "The simple fact is that had the child safety locks been activated, this young boy would not have been injured at all, let alone so terribly."
She explained that the boy had accompanied his mother as she went to collect her other children from school. "When an acquaintance of his mother's offered to look after him whilst she went into the school, his mother gratefully accepted," said Mrs Pendower. "The woman's car was parked at the side of the road and she placed the toddler in the back of the car as his mother went into the school.
"A few minutes later, a large goods vehicle was moving along the same road and struck and knocked down the youngster, causing horrific injuries," she said. "Evidently he had climbed out of the car using the rear passenger door, and when police later inspected the vehicle they found that the child safety locks had not been activated."
The child sustained a catalogue of serious injuries, including a head injury and such severe damage to his pelvis and leg that he was forced to undergo a total limb amputation.
"The legal argument over liability was set to go to trial in May this year, but that was avoided when - just a week before the trial was due to start - the insurance company of the lorry driver admitted liability in full," said Mrs Pendower. "A judge subsequently gave approval to the liability agreement and also to an interim payment to the family, which ensures the boy can begin to receive the requisite specialist treatment he needs to aid his recovery."
Following the approval hearing, Mrs Pendower said the tragic case highlighted the need for every motorist to ensure their child locks are activated before placing children in their cars.
"Child locks are there to prevent exactly this type of tragic incident," said Mrs Pendower. "Whether as a parent or relative taking children on a journey or people offering lifts to friends with children, everyone placing children in the back of their car needs to ensure that these vital safety features are activated."
She said the issue was particularly relevant on the eve of the summer break, as many families prepare to head off on holiday. "With thousands of parents and children likely jetting off over the coming weeks, anyone planning on hiring a car for their family vacation should remember to check the child locks have been activated on the vehicle," she said.
"It's often as simple as sliding a tab or turning a button on the inside of the door, but it can protect child passengers and prevent your family from enduring the ordeal my clients are still going through."