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How Not Wearing A Seatbelt
Affects Your Car Accident Claim?

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

Wearing a seat belt is essential for your safety and can also play a vital role in determining the outcome of your car accident claim. 

As a car accident lawyer with years of experience in personal injury lawsuits regarding car accidents, I will explore the importance of wearing a seatbelt and how not wearing a seatbelt affects your car accident claim.

Quick Summary

  • Not wearing a seatbelt can reduce compensation from an insurance claim.
  • Seatbelt laws mandate seatbelts; failure to do so can be considered in determining fault.
  • The Seat Belt Defense aims to argue that the injured party's failure to wear a seat belt may have contributed to their injuries, and thus, they may bear some responsibility.

How Not Wearing A Seatbelt Affects Your Car Accident Claim?

A woman inside her car removing her seatbeltNot wearing a seatbelt affects your car accident claim by allowing insurance companies and the defendant's attorneys to use the "Seat Belt Defense" to reduce the value of a car accident claim based on the claimant's failure to wear a seatbelt.

The objective of the Seat Belt Defense is to suggest that the injured individual may be partially responsible for their injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt [1].

More than 12 states permit Seat Belt Defense in certain forms, which can impact the outcome of a vehicle accident claim.

Not wearing a seat belt can affect the compensation a victim can recover in an insurance claim under contributory negligence and comparative fault regulations.

It's important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide a free case evaluation to assess the impact of not wearing a seatbelt on your claim.

Related ArticleCar Accident Lawsuit Update

What Are The Seatbelt Laws?

Seatbelt laws are the laws that require drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while in a vehicle. These laws may differ from one state to another, and not wearing a seatbelt can affect the determination of the at-fault driver in an accident [2].

In the following subsections, we will delve deeper into the legal principles of comparative and contributory negligence, which play a crucial role in car accident claims involving seatbelt usage.

Comparative Negligence

A car accident collision of two carsComparative negligence is a legal principle that reduces the compensation awarded to victims who may have contributed to the accident somehow [3]. 

In states with modified comparative negligence laws, a victim's compensation may be reduced proportionally to their responsibility for causing the accident. 

However, if the victim's liability is not greater than the other parties involved in the collision, they may still pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a legal principle that a claimant partially responsible for an accident may be precluded from recovering damages [4]. 

Under the contributory negligence doctrine, a plaintiff may be prevented from recovering damages if they are found to be partially responsible for their accident-related injuries.

"Your seatbelt tethers you to the car, so when the car slows suddenly, your body remains in place and slows with it. One of the most common injuries from not wearing a seatbelt is traumatic brain injuries."
- Michael S. Steinger, Attorney and Founding Partner of Steinger, Greene & Feine

Will Insurance Cover You If You Don't Wear A Seatbelt?

A concept image of car insuranceAn insurance company will still provide coverage even if a seatbelt was not worn during the accident.

However, the Seat Belt Defense can be employed by insurance companies to diminish the value of a claim, arguing that the injured party is at least partially responsible for their injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt.

This can lead to decreased insurance coverage and potential reductions in compensation.

Related Article: How to Deal With Insurance Adjuster?

Can I File a Lawsuit If I Don't Wear a Seat Belt?

You can file a lawsuit if you don't wear a seat belt. However, the court may reduce the damages awarded to the plaintiff if it is determined that not wearing a seatbelt contributed to the accident. Insurance coverage will remain in place, but your claim may be impacted, and you may not be awarded the anticipated amount.

It is crucial, to be honest with your attorney regarding whether you wore a seatbelt, as this information can provide the most advantageous circumstances for your case. 

Legal Arguments Associated With The Seat Belt Defense

A concept image of law and justiceThe Seat Belt Defense is utilized by insurance companies and the defendant's attorneys to reduce the value of car insurance claims based on the claimant's failure to wear a seatbelt. 

Understanding the legal arguments associated with the Seat Belt Defense, such as comparative negligence and mitigation of damages, can help you better prepare for the aftermath of an automobile accident and protect your rights. 

Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and assistance in navigating these legal complexities.

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What Is The Difference Between Contributory Negligence And Comparative Fault?

The difference between contributory negligence and the comparative fault is that contributory negligence precludes plaintiffs from obtaining damages if they are deemed partially liable for their accident-related injuries. In contrast, comparative fault permits fault to be divided and damages to be allocated based on each individual's portion of the fault.

What If You Were a Passenger In a Car Accident While Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

If you were a passenger in a car accident while not wearing a seatbelt, you may face reduced compensation and driver liability. Awareness of the potential consequences of not wearing a seatbelt during an accident is crucial.

Involved In A Car Accident? Contact A Personal Injury Attorney Today

Suppose you were involved in a car accident, regardless of whether you wore a seatbelt. In that case, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney, such as a car accident attorney, is essential. 

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP, our attorneys can help you procure evidence, mediate with insurance companies, and file personal injury lawsuits if necessary. Additionally, they can offer legal advice and help you understand your rights and choices. 

Contact a personal injury attorney today to ensure you receive the full value of your claim and get the compensation that injury victims and their families deserve.