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The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro,  P.A.  Your Personal Injury Team.

Do I Have To Replace A Car Seat After An Accident?

CarSeat

Car seats do a great job at protecting children during vehicle accidents. However, a car seat can only protect your child if you choose the right car seat and use it correctly each time your child is in the car. Additionally, a car seat cannot protect your child if damaged. So, if you were in a car accident and your child’s car seat was in the car (either with your child on it or not), it is understandable why you are concerned about whether you have to replace the seat. A minor crash can damage your child’s car seat, making it unable to protect them in a future crash.

So, do you have to replace a car seat after an accident? According to the NHTSA, you don’t have to replace a car seat after a minor car accident. The NHTSA advises parents and guardians to replace car seats after a moderate or severe car accident. According to the NHTSA, a car seat that suffers the impact of a moderate or severe crash cannot continue giving a child the needed high level of protection. Even if the seat was empty during the accident, the NHTSA advises against reusing a car seat after a moderate or severe accident.

According to the NHTSA, a minor accident is one in which ALL the following apply:

  • The driver was able to drive the vehicle away from the accident site
  • The car door nearest to where the car seat was did not suffer any damage
  • No passengers in the car suffered any injuries in the crash
  • Airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
  • There is no visible damage to the vehicle

If your accident does not meet all five criteria, you must replace the car seat.

With that said, it is crucial that you check your child’s car seat for damage even after a minor crash. If you notice even the slightest damage, do not hesitate to change it just because you were in a minor collision.

Who Is Responsible for Replacing Your Child’s Car Seat?

If yours was a minor or moderate crash, or the accident was your fault, and you have insurance, you can submit a claim to your insurance company and include the cost of replacing the car seat in your claim. Your insurance company will assume the responsibility of replacing your child’s car seat, provided your policy covers the car seat. In Florida, auto insurance will usually cover the cost of replacing child car seats after a crash. Your insurance company will replace the car seat as part of your property damage claim.

On the other hand, if you were involved in a serious crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, the at-fault party or their insurance company may be responsible for replacing your child’s car seat that got damaged in the accident.

What if My Child Was Injured in the Accident?

Some of the common injuries suffered by children in auto accidents include;

  • Head and neck injuries
  • Car seat injuries
  • Glass injuries
  • Fractures

If your child suffered an injury in the crash that damaged their car seat, ensure they receive proper medical treatment. In fact, even if you cannot notice any visible injuries on your child after your crash, ensure that a doctor sees them. Some injuries can only be detected by doctors. Additionally, a physician can advise you on what symptoms to look out for in the coming days or weeks. Some injuries take time to become apparent.

If your child was injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, you might have the right to recover compensation for your child’s injuries from the at-fault party or their insurance company. However, child injury claims can be complicated, so it is crucial that you allow an experienced attorney to help you.

Other Damages You Can Recover in a Car Accident

Apart from compensation for property damage and your child’s medical bills, an at-fault party can compensate you for other damages. The damages you are awarded will depend entirely on the specifics of your case. For example, if you too suffered an injury that meets Florida’s severe injury threshold, you may be compensated for medical expenses. Other damages you may be able to recover include;

  • Lost wages
  • Disability and disfigurement
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • You and your child’s pain and suffering

Contact a Naples Car Accident Attorney

If you were in a Florida car accident, contact our Naples car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro. We can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to, including compensation for property damage that can help you replace your child’s damaged car seat. Contact 239-329-8360 to schedule a consultation.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.737.html

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