Do I Have a Car Accident Claim if I Was Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

31514104_lYes, you can still recover compensation, even if you were not wearing a seat belt when your car accident occurred. Many people are under the impression that you can’t, and the insurance companies love it when accident victims believe that failure to wear a seat belt bars their claim. Each state is different. In some states, and under certain circumstances, failure to wear a seatbelt can mean that your compensation can be reduced.

Seatbelts Do Not Prevent Car Accidents

The basic premise behind why you can collect compensation when you weren’t wearing your seat belt is that failing to wear your seat belt did not cause your accident. The other driver or maker of the defective vehicle is still to blame, and therefore, should still have to pay up.

The Seat Belt Defense

The attempt to bar or reduce your claim based on seatbelt non-use is referred to as “the seat belt defense”. It is so common, and so unfair to accident victims and their loved ones, that 30 states and the District of Columbia prohibit its use entirely. In states that allow it, your compensation can be reduced based on comparative negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Under comparative negligence, an accident victim’s damages can be reduced by their percentage of blame for their injuries. So, in the states that allow it, if your seat belt non-use was found to contribute to your injuries by 5 percent, your damages can be reduced by 5 percent. However, the defendant will have to prove that failure to wear a seat belt actually contributed to the severity of your injuries, not just that you weren’t wearing one. Some states have a limit on how much your compensation can be reduced for seatbelt non-use.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, and you were not wearing your seatbelt, make sure you choose a car accident attorney who has a thorough understanding of the seat belt defense in your state, and the experience to maximize your compensation in this type of case. only works with highly credentialed attorneys. Let us help you find an experience car accident attorney in your area today.



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