Should You Replace A Car Seat After An Accident?
Car seats save young children’s lives, aside from being legally required. And while many people have started to become more educated on how to use and how to install car seats, one question doesn’t get as much attention: what do you do with a car seat after an accident?
Replacing the Car Seat
If you are in a car accident and there was a car seat in the vehicle (regardless of whether there was actually a child in the seat at the time), you may be wondering whether you need to or should replace the car seat.
The good news is that many modern car seats are durable; they are supposed to protect infants and kids, and that toughness means that they can often withstand the forces of a minor accident.
Factors to Consider
Don’t assume by looking that you can tell whether a car seat needs replacing or not-although certainly, a visual inspection can reveal information that can help you decide whether to replace the car seat or not.
Much damage can be to the internal structure of a car seat, meaning neither you visually, or even rescue personnel like police or firefighters can visually look at a car seat and determine whether it should be reused after a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives some guidance, by advising that car seats be replaced in what they call moderate or severe car accidents, terms that don’t seem to have any objective definition.
The Accident Matters
The NHTSA does advise that you look to see if there are any injuries to any occupants of the car (not just those in the seat itself) or whether the airbags deployed, and if so, the NHTSA suggests replacing the car seat.
If the door nearest to the car seat sustained damage, or if the vehicle itself could not be driven away from the crash site on its own, the NHTSA does suggest replacement of the car seat.
But these are all government suggestions, and you may be surprised to learn that many manufacturers’ suggestions are more stringent than those put out by the government. Many manufacturers suggest that the car seat be replaced after any accident (although admittedly, they may have a financial incentive in getting you to buy more car seats).
Who Pays for the New Seat?
Almost every insurance company will reimburse you for the cost of the car seat or for its replacement.
The cost of the seat is an item of damages you can get from the party responsible for the accident. Additionally, you do not have to get the exact same make and model seat—so, for example, if your child was outgrowing the old seat, and a new one is more expensive, you can get the newer model, and insurance will often pay the increased costs.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help and to get your questions answered after your car accident.