Car Seat Collision Replacement Law
Car accidents are terrifying for everyone. Even if you aren’t seriously injured, the shock of the accident sure throws you off for some time. The terror intensifies if there is a child involved in the accident. Just the thought of their kid suffering from accidental injuries is a nightmare for parents.
However, car seats are a safety feature – they do a phenomenal job at keeping our babies and toddlers secure. Even in the case of crashes, car seats protect them.
One of the common questions parents have is what they should do with the car seat after the accident. Should they get it replaced or keep it if it seems safe or take the decision on the severity of the case? Well, there are different recommendations and viewpoints. The Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at Wolf & Pravato are here to help you through it by stating what the law demands and how you should take this decision.
Let’s get started.
Should I Replace My Car Seat After an Accident?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. However, securing children in car seats that abide by the federal motor vehicle safety standards are effective in reducing the risk of injuries to them. According to Statistics, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants (younger than 1-year-old) and by 54% for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars.
The data clearly shows that car seats play an important role in keeping kids and infants safe while driving. So if your car has been exposed to an accident, replacing your car seat seems to be the right thing to do.
Let us see what the law demands you to do.
NHTSA Car Seat Accident Replacement Laws
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ) recommendation, you should replace children’s car seats and booster seats after car crashes. However, if it is a minor crash, you can avoid replacement.
For a crash to be considered minor, one should meet the following five criteria –
- After the accident, the vehicle was in a situation where you were able to drive it away from the crash site. If you towed the vehicle, it is not considered a minor accident.
- The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
- None of the passengers in the vehicle got any injuries in the crash and were safe.
- If the vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash. It includes all the airbags of the vehicle – front airbags, side curtain airbags, seat belt airbags, seat side airbags, and knee bolster airbags.
- When you investigate your vehicle, there should not be any damage to the car seat, including no cracks, creases, stretched webbing, broken top tether stitching, stress marks, or broken pieces.
If the car accident meets all these conditions, it is a minor accident. You can avoid changing the car seat in such cases. However, if your vehicle manufacturer suggests otherwise, it’s best to comply and not take any risks.
When Should You Replace the Car Seat?
If the car accident is not minor and comes under the moderate to severe crash category, car seat accident replacement is highly recommended.
In many cases, there is no visible damage to the car seat after the accident. Hence, people decide to not get it replaced. According to the manufacturers, accidents chip away the strength of the car seat and weaken its ability to protect your child if there’s another accident. Therefore, even if you do not see any damage, talk to your car manufacturer and get it inspected. Oftentimes, even minor accidents tweak the interiors of the seat that weakens its overall functionality.
Your insurance can cover the cost of a new car seat. You just have to provide a copy of the accident report and a receipt for the purchase of a new seat.
Also, if your car seat is not completely damaged, do not dispose of it. You can put it in a recycling program.
Contact Us at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
Also, hire a lawyer to review your case and help you win the settlement for your losses and damages. Wolf & Pravato, a South Florida car accident lawyer can help you file the lawsuit and deal with the formalities seamlessly. Schedule a free case review with us today.