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Using Car Seats After A Crash

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you may – very understandably – be feeling disoriented and overwhelmed. Even a relatively minor car accident can be jarring. As a result, it’s important to connect with an attorney as soon as you can to explore your rights and options. Depending on the nature of your circumstances, you may be entitled to considerable compensation and an attorney can help you to pursue every dollar you’re owed.

Additionally, an attorney can assist you with the practical tasks that must be addressed in the wake of a car accident. For example, they can field calls from your insurance company. In doing so, they’ll save you the stress of having to deal with them on your own and they’ll utilize their experience to secure a fairly-valued settlement offer on your behalf. They can also answer any questions you have about your legal, financial, and practical situation post-crash. For example, they can advise you in re: whether you can continue to use a child’s car seat that was in your vehicle at the time of the accident or whether you’ll need to replace it.

Child Seat Considerations Post-Accident

As an experienced Richmond, VA car accident lawyer – including those who practice at MartinWren, P.C. – can explain in greater detail concerning your unique circumstances, some car seats can be used after they’ve been impacted by a crash scenario and others must be replaced. Whether your child’s seat can be used safely moving forward or whether it will need to be replaced is dependent upon a few factors related to your crash.

Generally speaking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that any time a car seat is in a vehicle at the time of a moderate or serious crash – regardless of whether a child was seated in the safety seat at the moment of impact or not – the seat should be replaced. A moderate or severe crash is broadly defined as one in which at least one occupant of the vehicle sustained injuries, air bags deployed, there is visible damage to the car seat, and/or the door nearest to the car seat is visibly damaged.

In the event of a minor car accident, the NHTSA advises that vehicle operators check with the manufacturer of their car seat(s) before determining whether to replace them or keep using them. Some car seat manufacturers advise that vehicle owners replace safety seats following a minor accident, while other manufacturers give vehicle owners the green light to keep using their safety seats.

A minor crash is broadly defined as one in which no one was hurt, no air bags deployed in the affected vehicle, the vehicle was safe and sturdy enough to be driven away from the accident scene (as opposed to towed away), there is no visible damage to the affected seat, and the door nearest the seat didn’t sustain visible damage. If a seat must be replaced, an attorney can potentially secure its replacement cost from the car owner’s insurance provider.