Car Seats and Car Accidents: Do You Need to Replace Your Car Seat?

Car Seats and Car Accidents: Do You Need to Replace Your Car Seat?

If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s likely you’ll need to replace your child’s car seat. This is true even in car accidents that are seemingly minor. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) offers some criteria for reusing a car seat after a minor collision. Read on to learn about situations in which you will need to replace your car seat and what to do with the old one.

If you or your child was injured in the car accident, then please reach out to Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707. Whether the accident resulted in broken bones, catastrophic injuries, or something in between, we are here to help. Call us today and get a free legal consultation.

To replace a car seat or not replace a car seat

According to the NHTSA, you should replace a car seat after a car accident that’s moderate or severe. They also say that not all car seats need to be replaced after a minor crash. However, in order for the crash to qualify as “minor” by their standards, all of the following must be true:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven from the accident scene;
  • The car seat is not visibly damaged;
  • The car door nearest the car seat wasn’t damaged;
  • Air bags didn’t deploy;
  • No one in the car was injured.

Replacing a car seat can ensure a child’s continued safety. If you’re not sure if it should be replaced, then it’s likely better to err on the side of caution and replace it.

Your insurance carrier may cover the cost of a car seat replacement

If you believe that the car seat you were using needs to be replaced based on the guidelines of the NHTSA, then you should talk to your insurance company. Since California is a tort state, insurance companies are required by law to replace a car seat if it was occupied during the accident. Most insurance companies will do this without issue. Others may require you to jump through hoops. Make sure you know what’s covered and what isn’t before you buy a new car seat.

Getting rid of a car seat after a car accident

If you simply put your car seat out by the curb to be picked up by the garbage collector, someone may see it and either use it themselves or try to sell it. This is why you should take off the cover, cut through the harness, and write on the shell: NOT SAFE TO USE. If you’re replacing your car seat with an identical model, hold on to your seat cover so you’ll have a spare.

Replacing a car seat after a car accident is important. Getting the right legal representation is also important. Reach out to Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 if you have reason to believe you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. There’s no risk to you because we start you off with a free legal consultation.

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