In most cases, a child’s car seat needs to be replaced after a crash—even if it doesn’t appear visibly damaged or the child wasn’t in the seat when the accident occurred.

When to Replace a Car Seat

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), your child’s car seat needs to be replaced unless the accident you were in meets all of the following criteria to be classified as a minor accident:

  • No one in the vehicle was injured in any way.
  • None of the airbags deployed.
  • You didn’t need your vehicle towed and were able to drive away from the scene of the crash without incident.
  • The door closest to the car seat was not damaged.
  • The accident caused no visible damage to the car seat such as cracks, creases, stress marks, or broken tether stitching.

If your crash qualifies as a moderate or severe accident, the NHTSA states the car seat needs to be replaced even if your child wasn’t riding in it at the time of the crash. The force of impact can still compromise the structural integrity and effectiveness of the seat.

Some car seat manufacturers use replacement guidelines that are more stringent than the NHTSA rules. If your owner’s manual states the seat should be replaced after any crash regardless of severity, you should purchase a new car seat to ensure your child remains properly protected.

The cost of replacing a car seat can be included in your personal injury claim for the accident, along with any medical bills for you or your child, lost wages while you were unable to work due to your own injuries or child care responsibilities, and pain and suffering. However, there are special rules that must be followed for a child’s personal injury settlement because children under 18 are not allowed to take legal action on their own behalf. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure the rights of both you and your child are protected.

Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.