Car seats are very important tools to protect babies and toddlers during a car accident. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) estimates that car seats reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 71% for infants (younger than 1 year old) and by 54% for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in cars. For infants and toddlers in trucks, the corresponding reductions are 58% and 59%, respectively. You may be wondering, however, whether you should replace a car seat after a car accident?
When Should a Car Seat be Replaced Following a Colorado Car Accident?
In the past, NHTSA recommended replacing a car seat whenever a vehicle was involved in a car accident, regardless of the severity of the impact. This recommendation was changed recently to reduce the number of children without restraint while parents replace the car seat and to reduce costs for consumers and insurance companies. Currently, NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat whenever a vehicle was involved in a moderate to severe car accident. Minor car accidents are those that meet the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the accident site
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy; and
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat
If a car accident meets the aforementioned criteria, NHTSA does indicate it is necessary to replace car seats. Notwithstanding the NHTSA recommendations, some car seat manufacturers recommend replacing car seat after any type of car accident.
Have a Qualified Technician Inspect the Car Seat
Following a Colorado car accident, drivers can present to several places to have their car seat inspected. The Colorado Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) maintains a list of inspection stations throughout Colorado. When searching for possible locations in the Denver metropolitan area, there are over 35 results within a 25-mile radius, including many hospitals that require appointments. Examples include Denver Health, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Swedish Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Littleton Adventist Hospital, and Parker Adventist Hospital. In addition, most fire stations offer inspections, and several have Spanish-speaking technicians.
Does Insurance Cover the Replacement Costs After a Colorado Car Accident?
In most cases, if an insurance company approves a car accident claim, it will cover the cost of replacing a child car seat or booster seat in the settlement. The replacement may even be a different type, such as if your child was close to outgrowing the damaged seat. It is best to provide a receipt for the damaged car seat. This may be credit card records of the purchase if the receipt is no longer available.
In addition to proof of purchase, it may be necessary to provide photographs of the damaged car and the car seat’s serial number and expiration date (usually located on the seat itself under the lining). Also, it will likely be necessary to cut the car seat’s straps and take photos of the seat with the cut straps. Cutting the straps ensures the child seat cannot be used and must be discarded.
Contact a Colorado Car Accident Attorney
If you have questions regarding the replacement of car seats following a Colorado car accident, contact Bowman Law at 720.863.6904 or email us. Our lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including Motor Vehicle Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip & Fall Accidents, and Dog Bites & Attacks. We service Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Commerce City, Lakewood, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and other parts of metropolitan Denver, Colorado.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.