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A car accident can be a traumatic experience.  This is especially true if you have children riding with you.  Even if the car accident wasn’t severe, you might be wondering when it’s time to replace your child’s car seat. 

Severity of Crash

It is important to understand what qualifies as a minor car accident, a moderate car accident, and a severe car accident.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you should replace a car seat following a moderate or severe crash to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.  Whereas when the crash is minor, replacing the car seat is not automatically necessary.

A minor car accident is one where all the following apply:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
  • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
  • If the vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.

It is best to never use a car seat involved in a moderate or severe car accident.

Things to Keep in Mind

1.  Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines:  Check the owner’s manual that came with your car seat. Many manufacturers recommend replacing the car seat after any collision, regardless of how minor or severe the car accident was.  This is because the car seat’s frame, straps, and other parts may have been damaged, even if you can’t see any visible signs of damage.

2.  Assess the damage:  If the accident was a minor crash and you’re unsure whether you need to replace your car seat, closely examine the car seat.  Look for cracks, warping, or other damage that might have occurred during the accident.  If there is any visible damage, replace the seat.

3.  Consider the speed and force of the car accident:  The accident’s severity also plays a role in whether to replace the car seat.  If the accident was minor, you might not need to replace the car seat, but if it was a high-speed accident or involved significant force, replacing it is a good idea.

4.  Check with your insurance company:  Your insurance company might cover the cost if they need to replace your car seat after the accident.  Check with your insurance provider to see their car seat replacement policy.  What if you were in an accident at no fault of your own? The at-fault party’s insurance might be responsible for replacing the car seat. This would be part of the property damage portion of your claim.  Contact us to determine whether you’re eligible for a car seat replacement from the other party’s insurance.

Remember that your child’s safety is the most important thing to consider when it comes to car seats.  If you ever doubt whether your car seat needs replacement after an accident, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and replace it.

How Habush Attorneys Can Help

At Habush Habush & Rottier, our experienced attorneys help car accident victims who deserve compensation for accidents they didn’t cause. If an insurance company denies coverage for a necessary car seat replacement following a non-fault accident, contact our attorneys for assistance. Our initial consultation is free and confidential.

Attorney Whitney A. Healy

Appleton, Green Bay
Whitney Healy is an attorney in the firm’s Appleton and Green Bay office. She focuses her practice on a wide variety of personal injury cases. Prior to joining Habush, Whitney worked as an attorney at a civil litigation firm in Madison, WI where she dedicated her career to helping those who need it most. She has vast experience representing individuals in both state and federal courts, as well as with transnational litigation. In recognition of her civil litigation work, Whitney was designated a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

View Whitney’s Full Bio