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When Should I Replace My Child’s Car Seats After an Accident?

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Your child’s safety is always going to be your top priority as a parent. There’s often confusion about what to do if the accident you’re in seems minor; ultimately, many people are simply unsure of when it is necessary replace their child safety seat. If there’s no visible damage, it is really necessary? The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives us the guidance we need.
You should ALWAYS replace car seats if the car has been in a moderate or severe accident.

However, if the vehicle has been in a minor crash, then you should look at the following items to consider if you need to contact your insurance company about replacement seats. If ANY of the following are true, then you should replace the car seat:

  • The vehicle could not be driven away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was damaged.
  • Any of the passengers in the vehicle sustained injuries in the crash.
  • The airbags deployed; or
  • There is visible damage to the car seat

If you are unsure, then you should consult the manual for the car seat and also err on the side of caution and just replace car seats that were in the vehicle at the time of the accident; it’s better to be safe than sorry. And, as a bonus, most insurance companies will pay to replace the car seats without much fight. Make sure you keep the damaged car seat to confirm that they will fully cover the replacement, and be prepared to send the specific make and model of your current car seats to insurance so they can issue a payment for the replacement. Oftentimes, the insurance company will want a picture showing that the car seat straps were cut, making it unusable.

If you’re in Snohomish County and have questions regarding car seat replacement, or any events that follow an automobile accident, Elsner Law Firm would be happy to offer our assistance. Please contact us directly for a free consultation.

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