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Recent Blog Posts in September 2010

September 16, 2010

Can you get compensation for your child car seat after an accident?

Posted By Angel Chenaur

We have represented numerous people injured in car accidents over the years.  Often, the car accident involves a child that is in the vehicle riding in a car seat.  Our injury attorneys and staff always ensure that the car seat is replaced for our clients.  The cost of replacing the car seat is borne by insurance and is covered personal property damaged as a result of the car accident.  For the first time in recent memory we were forced to actually argue with insurance with respect to the issue of replacing a car seat involved in a motor vehicle collision.  The insurance adjuster asserted that insurance had no duty to replace the car seat absent affirmative evidence that the car seat actually suffered damage.  Aside from the obvious that any risk associated with a child is unacceptable, especially when easily (and inexpensively at that) avoided, there are other authorities that demand replacing the seat.  Washington law mandates that every child restraint system (car seat) must comply with standards of the United States Department of Transportation as well as manufacturer guidelines.  RCW 46.61.687.   The NHTSA official position recommends that child safety seats always be replaced following a moderate to severe motor vehicle collision / accident.  In minor accidents NHTSA states that the child safety seats do not automatically have to be replaced.  A list of replacement criteria is provided as a guideline to help assess if the accident was indeed minor.  Even if deemed minor, NHTSA ultimately recommends having the seat inspected by a certified safety technician.  The primary goal of the legislature is “to maximize the protection of children in vehicles.”  This should be everyone’s goal, insurance included.  In reviewing manufacturer guidelines, every major manufacturer of car seats not surprisingly recommends replacement following a car collision / accident.  Bottom line, in the above case, insurance paid for the replacement car seat.  If unsure how to proceed, a victim of a car accident can also take the seat to a local child safety seat inspection station.

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