Article: What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?, Car Accidents

What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?

Wearing a seat belt is the safest thing you can do when you get into a car. When you choose not to don your seat belt, you put yourself at risk in the instance an accident occurs. It’s a personal choice, but many states require you wear your seat belts or risk a ticket for not buckling. In 16 states, you can lose the ability to recover damages from an accident if you were not wearing your seat belt when the accident occurs. If you were involved in a car accident while not wearing your seat belt, you might be at risk for forfeiting the damages you are entitled to following an accident. These damages might include anything from medical costs to loss of wages, and it can be financially devastating to lose these benefits. Wear your seat belt. If it’s too late now, understand how the law will handle your case when it’s brought to court.

The Legal Ramifications of Not Wearing Your Seat Belt

Even if the accident was the fault of someone else, you still don’t get to collect the damages you might be entitled to if you fail to buckle. The seat belt defense is a law in more than 16 states, and it’s a serious law. It applies to drivers, passengers, and anyone else involved in an accident looking to recover damages for various things if they chose not to buckle their seat belt when they entered the vehicle. The law differs slightly depending on the state in which you reside.

The purpose of this law is to place the blame where it is due. When someone else causes an accident, they are to blame for your injuries. For example, if you’re driving to work and have a green light to go through but someone with a red light fails to stop and slams into the side of your car, this is an accident caused solely by them. They broke the law because they weren’t paying attention to the road. However, if you choose to remain unbuckled when you enter the car, this is a problem that’s yours.

That person might have caused the accident, but your choice not to use your seat belt is to blame for the bulk of your injuries. Your injuries were most likely more serious because you failed to buckle. If you choose to buckle, you might have be injured but less severely. The law is in place to limit the amount of damages you can seek since part of your injuries are your own fault.

No Damages?

The law doesn’t stop you from going after the damages to which you are entitled if you are involved in an accident caused by someone else even though you were not buckled. It merely limits what you can ask for in terms of damages since you aren’t following the law yourself. The judge, jury, and insurance companies involved in this type of litigation are going to find a way to keep you from getting the money you feel you are entitled to since you weren’t doing what was considered safest. You might still obtain a portion of the funds you want, but you won’t get it all.

The only defense you have in a situation like this is your location. Only 16 states employ the seat belt law. This means 34 states don’t bother with it. If the accident occurred in one of the states in which the law does not apply to drivers or passengers without a seat belt keeping the safe in an accident, you can still seek the kind of damages you feel you’re entitled to without forfeiting a portion of them for this particular law.

Your best defense if you were involved in an accident of this nature is to call a personal injury attorney. There are so many laws to consider, so many rules in play, and so many legal loopholes that there might be a chance you can seek the damages you feel are appropriate. Car accidents can cause you to become seriously injured, which means many medical bills with accrue. If you end up out of work because of this, you could lose wages that help you survive. There are ways you can seek the damages you need to recover from the financial downfall of this accident, but it’s a good idea to call a personal injury attorney to help you find out what you’re entitled to. The law is difficult to navigate by those who aren’t familiar with it, which means help is often required.

Calling a personal injury attorney today can help you find out what you’re entitled to following an accident. If you weren’t wearing your seat belt during the crash, you might lose funds you’re entitled to. Buckle up the next time you get into your car.

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