Good child car seats aren’t cheap. With all of the expenses you can face after a serious car accident, you might not want (or be able) to buy a new child car seat after a collision. So, is it necessary? Or, is it safe to reinstall your child’s current car seat in your new or repaired vehicle?
Bakersfield car accident attorney Mickey Fine knows how difficult life can be after a serious car crash, especially if you’ve been hurt as a result. If another driver’s negligence caused you to suffer severe injuries, we want to hear your story. The Law Offices of Mickey Fine is committed to helping injury victims recover the justice and compensation they need to get back on track.
When to Replace a Child Car Seat After a Crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides advice on when to replace a child car seat after an accident. According to the NHTSA, child car seats should, “be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.” The NHTSA also states that, “[c]ar seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.”
In terms of distinguishing between minor, moderate, and severe car accidents, the NHTSA defines a minor car accident as one in which:
- No one was injured in the accident,
- Your airbags did not deploy,
- You are able to drive your vehicle home or to the repair shop,
- The door nearest your child’s car seat was not damaged, and
- There is no visible damage to your child’s car seat.
If any of these do not apply to your car accident, then the NHTSA’s guidance indicates that you should replace your child’s car seat as a result of the crash.
In addition to following the NHTSA’s guidance, it is also a good idea to review the manufacturer’s recommendations. You should be able to find these on your child’s car seat tag; but, if you can’t, then you can check the manufacturer’s website. The manufacturer might recommend replacing the car seat after any collision, or it might recommend looking for certain specific signs of damage.
Of course, if you have any concerns about whether your child’s car seat is still usable, it is always better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, be safe, and replace your child’s old car seat with a new one.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Replacement Child Car Seats?
A good child car seat can cost hundreds of dollars. Is this an expense that your insurance company will cover?
Maybe. When you have an auto insurance claim after a car accident, you are entitled to seek coverage for all property damage resulting from the crash. This is not limited to the damage to your vehicle. So, if your child’s car seat was damaged, this should be a covered loss.
But, whether your policy (or the other driver’s policy) will cover full replacement or only the current value of your child’s car seat depends on the relevant policy language. Additionally, while the insurance companies should simply provide the coverage you are owed, this rarely happens in practice. As a result, to make sure you receive the maximum coverage available, you should hire an experienced attorney to represent you.
What Should You Do with Your Old Child Car Seat if It Needs Replacement?
If you need to replace your child’s car seat as the result of an accident, what should you do with your old one? Since it is potentially unsafe to use, you should not donate it, give it to a friend, or try to sell it online.
Instead, the best option is to recycle your old car seat. There are various child car seat recycling programs, including some programs that provide coupons and gift cards for buying new ones. While some programs require you to purchase a recycling kit, others offer drop-off locations. For example, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) accepts child car seat recycling drop-offs at its main location.
Notably, CHLA recommends against simply throwing out your old car seat: “Many car seats are pulled from curbside trash because they look like they are in good shape to the untrained eye; this can put an unsuspecting child in danger.” If you are going to throw out your child’s old car seat, consider breaking it or throwing it away in several pieces so that it cannot be re-used.
Call a Bakersfield Car Accident Attorney Today for Free
Have you been involved in a car accident in the Bakersfield, CA area? If so, we can explain everything you need to know about dealing with the insurance companies and moving on with your life. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, please call 661-333-3333 or tell us how we can help online today.