Depending on the circumstances of your accident, a car collision can leave severe, sometimes irreparable damage to your vehicle. Not only is the exterior of your car at risk, but a car accident can damage your interior mechanisms and the belongings you have inside of your vehicle. If you have a car seat in your car at the time of your accident, it is a good idea to replace it – and your Bakersfield personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim could help you purchase a new one.
When Do You Need to Replace a Car Seat?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts out recommendations on what to do with car seats after a car accident. If you are in a moderate to severe crash with your child or with the car seat in your vehicle, the NHTSA recommends that you seek a replacement as soon as possible.
Getting into a car accident does not automatically mean that you have to replace your car seat, however. If you are in a minor car accident, you can continue to use the seat. Your accident will need to meet all of the following criteria for the NHTSA to consider it a minor collision.
- You were able to drive your vehicle away from the accident site.
- None of the people in the car at the time of the accident suffered any injuries.
- Your vehicle’s air bags did not deploy during the course of the accident.
- The car seat did not suffer from any visible damage.
- The door closest to the car seat did not suffer from any damage.
Remember, your car accident will need to meet all of the above criteria to be a minor accident and you do not have to replace the car seat. If you do need to replace your car seat, options are available to you.
You should also check with the manufacturer of the car seat to ensure that it is still in good condition. Different manufacturers may have different requirements, so it is important to conduct some independent research after your accident.
Can You Receive Compensation to Replace a Damaged Car Seat?
If you were in a moderate to severe car accident and your car seat meets the manufacturer’s requirements for a replacement, you will need to purchase a new one. Car seats can be expensive, and paying for one unexpectedly out of pocket can be difficult – especially if you are also paying for medical bills, property damage, and other losses associated with the accident.
You do have to option of recovering compensation to purchase a new car seat. You can choose to pursue a claim through your car insurance company or you can file a lawsuit in California civil court. If you start with an insurance claim, you can pursue a lawsuit at a later time.
The insurance company should cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage in an accident – and car seats count as property. Depending on the company, you may have to purchase the replacement car seat first and submit a receipt for reimbursement later. Other companies may give you a settlement to purchase a new car seat.
Because these companies have to pay for your expenses, they may be difficult to deal with and take a long time to offer you a settlement. Even with a settlement, you may not receive enough money to cover all of your losses. Contact an attorney to help you with your claim and to negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Car accidents, no matter how severe, can lead to damage to you, your passengers, and your property. If someone else’s negligence or recklessness led to your accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash to learn more about your legal options.