Is it safe to use a car seat after a minor car accident?

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality in our society. We depend on our vehicles to perform even the most basic daily tasks. The chances are that many drivers will experience some manner of car accident during their lives. In fact, statistics gathered by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security show that in 2013, there were 12,389 reported car accidents in Knox County. According to that data, 55 of those accidents ended with a loss of life, 2,915 crashes resulted in injuries and a whopping 12,389 collisions resulted in property damage in excess of $400.

Perhaps what is most telling about those statistics is that the vast majority of accidents do not involve death or injury. Many of these so-called “fender benders” end with involved parties exchanging insurance information and simply going their own ways. The problem is that many of these minor accidents involve vehicles equipped with child safety seats.

New research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now suggests that even minor accidents can reduce the effectiveness of some car seats. NHTSA is now recommending guidelines for motorists wondering whether they should replace their car seats after minor crashes. Here are some of the more important findings of that study:

— NHTSA advises that child car seats be replaced after all accidents that are considered moderate or severe.

— Car seats do not necessarily need to be replaced after minor crashes.

— A minor crash is one that meets all of the following criteria. The vehicle must have been able to drive away from the accident. There must not have been any injuries suffered by any passengers. The vehicle door nearest the child restraint seat must have remained undamaged. The vehicle did not experience deployment of airbags. The child safety seat did not incur any visible damage.

Tennessee motorists should know that not every car accident is a fender bender. Distracted or impaired drivers still cause car accidents which result in death and substantial injuries. You may be entitled to recover compensation if you have been a victim of a preventable car accident. Your Tennessee personal injury attorney can assist you with the evaluation of your potential claims.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Child Restraint Re-use After Minor Crashes” Dec. 16, 2014