Do You Have to Replace a Car Seat After an Accident?

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A functional car seat plays a crucial role in your child’s safety. If your car gets involved in an accident, there is a high chance that your child’s seat is no longer in good condition.

If you or your child have been in a car accident in Hesperia, California, call our attorney today.

How to Tell If a Car Seat Has Been In an Accident

It is essential to ensure that the seat is in good condition to keep your child safe on the road. Once you’ve been in an accident, follow these steps to examine the child seat.

Conduct a thorough inspection

Inspect the seat before re-installing it in your car. A damaged seat will likely have visible damage signs, like cracks and missing pieces. You should avoid re-installing the seat because these signs mean the seat is no longer safe.

Closely examine the areas around the best attachment point, anchors, and buckles for any signs of damage. Also, check the base to determine if everything is working efficiently. Even if you notice small hairline cracks or verify that a single component is missing, it means the car seat integrity has been compromised.

Check the expiration date

Even if a car seat looks fine, this doesn’t mean your child is safe using the seat. While you may not notice any obvious signs indicating the seat is damaged, you should only install the seat once you check the expiration date. Every car seat has an expiry date; check the base or label on the car seat to determine it. Even if the car seat has never been involved in an accident, you should ensure it is within the predetermined timelines. The seat shouldn’t be old or worn-out.

Most car seats have a timeframe of six to 10 years from the manufacturer’s date. If you notice that the seat is above ten years, it’s time to replace it. You can also use the indicated serial number and contact the manufacturer to find out more details about the car seat.

When to Replace a Car Seat after an Accident

According to NHTSA, you should replace the child’s car seat after a car crash. But this solely depends on the severity of the crash. You may not need to replace the seat if the crash is minor.

Here are circumstances that NHTSA defines as minor crashes.

  • The car was driven away from the accident scene.
  • No one in the vehicle suffered injuries.
  • There is no visible damage to the child’s car seat.
  • All the airbags did not deploy.
  • The car door close to the car seat was not damaged.

Using the above factors will help you determine the condition of the child’s car seat and enable you to make informed decisions. If you notice that the car seat doesn’t meet the above criteria, you should replace it with a new model as soon as possible to avoid risking your child’s life.

When to Dispose Of a Car Seat after an Accident

If you decide to replace your child’s car seat, it is essential to know where to dispose of the old car seat. You may have different disposal options depending on where you live. Some states have various car seat recycling programs that you can leverage. If you can’t recycle it, you should dispose of it properly to prevent any reuse from anyone else. Avoid selling the seat even if you can’t see any damage.

The good news is that you can have the insurance company replace your car seats, and you don’t have to worry about incurring the costs from your pocket. Most state laws obligate insurance companies to replace car seats. The compensation varies per state, so you should do due diligence and make informed decisions for the compensation of the car seat.

Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney

AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers understand that a car accident can leave you confused and traumatized, and you may not know the steps to take to protect your rights after the car accident.

We have many years of experience representing individuals who suffered losses and severe injuries in car accidents, and we are here to help you. If you got involved in a car accident in southern California, our experienced lawyers are ready to assist you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

FAQs About Child Car Seats

How will the insurance company replace my child’s car seat after an accident?

You may need to file a car insurance claim and include a car seat in the claim. But it would be best if you were sure that the car seat is covered under your insurance policy.

What do I need when filing a car seat claim after an accident?

You may need to provide pictures of the car seat after the accident, a copy of the manufacturer’s manual, and receipts for the new seat if you already bought another.

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