Getting into a car accident can be a huge headache for everyone involved. You have to sort out who is at fault, determine whose insurance company is going to cover damages, and find the time to deal with everything in between. Regardless of who caused the accident, both parties can easily find themselves enduring costs they never expected to have that day. Most people think of the usual concerns after a car accident: injuries, car damage, doctor’s appointments, and time missed at work. But, for those of us who are parents, a major concern should be that of the car seat in our vehicle. Did you know that, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a car seat, your insurance company will pay to replace the car seat? Most manufacturers and safety organizations will encourage you to replace a car seat that has been in any kind of accident, even if the car seat was empty at the time of the collision. The impact of an accident has the ability to compromise the safety of the car seat, and that is why most insurance companies will include the cost of a replacement for your damages.
SHOULD I REPLACE MY CAR SEAT AFTER A MAJOR ACCIDENT?
You should absolutely replace the car seat after any major accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 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.” As for minor accidents, the NHTSA claims car seats do not have to automatically be replaced if the crash you were in definitely meets the requirements of a minor accident by definition.
HOW DOES THE NHTSA DEFINE A MINOR ACCIDENT?
To be considered a minor accident, you must be able to confirm that the entire list below applies to the accident your vehicle sustained:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
- The vehicle door closest to the car seat location was not damaged.
- None of the passengers in your vehicle were injured because of the accident.
- The air bags did not deploy at all because of the accident.
- The car seat itself does not have any visible damage.
If you cannot say yes to even one of the five stipulations listed above, then you need to immediately replace the car seat in your vehicle.
HOW WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF THE SEAT?
Most insurance companies will cover the cost to replace your car seat, but it does depend on your specific policy. To avoid any unnecessary confusion in the process, let a trusted attorney contact your insurance company regarding this concern. Filing a claim on your own can be tricky, and it does not take much for someone to forget to include a cost or two in their claim. You already have enough on your mind in the aftermath of an accident, so let a legal professional take off some of that weight. At Keller Melchiorre & Walsh, we will make sure to include every possible cost in your claim. Just be sure to provide your attorney with the model number of your car seat and the receipt of your new purchase if you had to immediately replace the car seat. Information like the model number and purchase price on the receipt can make the process go by even faster.
WILL THE OTHER PERSON’S INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF THE SEAT?
Yes, the other person’s insurance can also cover the cost of the seat. Again, make sure the cost of the car seat is included in your damages claim. Give the same information regarding the model number and purchase price to your attorney. We understand life does not always happen in a way that is planned, so if you are unable to purchase the cost of an immediate replacement, just supply proof of the purchase price to your attorney, either through an online listing or in-store photo, and he or she will include that cost in the claim. The more information you provide on the front end, the better a chance you have of receiving compensation quickly.
SHOULD I GET MY NEW CAR SEAT INSPECTED?
Getting your car seat inspected is always a good idea. When you get your replacement car seat, you can easily take it to a fitting station to have it inspected. If you live in Florida, you can click here to find a fitting station in your county. This is especially important if your child was about to transition to the next level in car seats. You do not have to get the exact same car seat as your replacement, so if you do happen to go up a level in car seats, take the time to have it properly inspected.
If you or a loved one recently experienced a motor vehicle accident and now need to have your car seat replaced, contact us today at Keller Melchiorre & Walsh to get started on your claim.