Should I Replace My Child’s Car Seat After an Accident?: Southwest Personal Injury Lawyers Explain

Regardless of an accident’s severity, car accidents can be frightening, life-changing events. Even a relatively minor accident can cause damage to your child’s booster seat or car seat, which may render these seats insufficient to protect your child in future accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car seats should always be replaced following a moderate or severe crash to ensure a consistent level of crash protection for child passengers. Following even a minor accident, child safety experts recommend replacement of child seats, as structural damage may not always be visible.

What Constitutes a Minor Crash?

According to the NHTSA, a minor crash occurs when all of the following factors are true:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the site of the crash.
  • The vehicle door nearest to the car seat was not damaged.
  • No passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
  • No airbags were deployed during the crash; and
  • There was no visible damage to the car seat.

What Damage Should I Look For?

There are various signs to look for when inspecting a child car seat for damage. The stitching may be torn, the webbing could be torn, or the seat could be cracked. Parents are also advised to look for damage such as cracked plastic, bent metal, or stretched harnesses or belts.  In the event of a crash, however, damage may not be readily apparent or even visible to the naked eye. Additionally, there is no reliable or scientific method of determining whether a seat continues to provide adequate protection for your child.

In any event, DO NOT use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to a severe collision.

Florida Child Seat Laws:

According to Florida Statute 316.613, every driver is required to use a federally approved car seat for infants and children under 5 years of age.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends that drivers always use a car seat for children who have not yet reached the manufacturer’s stated maximum weight or height limits. Also, while not legally required, the NHTSA recommends that kids under 12 years old should always ride in the back seat, as an additional safety precaution.

Will insurance cover the loss of a car seat following a crash?

If you were at fault in the accident, you may wish to contact your auto insurance provider. It is possible to include the cost of replacing the car seat along with other property losses and damages.

If you need to replace your child’s car or booster seat because of someone else’s negligence, the person or their insurance company can be held responsible for the these costs.  In addition to assisting you with your personal injury claim, we can also assist with obtaining reimbursement for child seat replacement. 

Additional Compensation You May Be Entitled To:

Our experienced personal injury lawyers can assist you and your family in an accident involving your child(ren).  We can seek damages against the at fault party for:

  • Medical bills for you and your child
  • Lost wages for the time you spent recovering
  • Your lost future earnings if you are unable to return to your job
  • You and your child’s pain and suffering
  • Disability and disfigurement, if applicable

Are there time limits when it comes to filing a claim?

An injured party has four years from the date of an automobile accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.  If a claim is being brought against your own uninsured motorist carrier, you have 5 years from the date of your accident to file such a lawsuit.  While lawsuits are sometimes necessary when insurance carriers are not willing to provide reasonable, fair compensation for our clients, in most accidents claims can be resolved without ever having to file a lawsuit.

Injured in a Southwest Florida Accident? Contact GTS!

Learn how our experienced, Southwest Florida personal injury lawyers at Goldman, Tiseo, and Sturges, P.A. can help you recover compensation from an automobile accident caused by another, during a FREE consultation.  Please dial (941) 625-6666, or send us a message through our contact us box to schedule a FREE personal injury consultation.  

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