Can I still recover damages if I was not wearing a seat belt when the accident happened?

If another driver or a defective car part is what caused the accident, the fact that your seat belt was not fastened at the time cannot be used in the guilty party’s defense. You may also have a medical certificate stating you suffer from an affection preventing you from wearing the seat belt.

Yes, you can still recover damages to which you are entitled if you were involved in an accident caused by someone else, even though you were not buckled up. But the amount you can ask for in terms of damages can be limited since you were not exactly following the law either, and that is something that the concerned parties (insurance companies, judge, and jury) are going to make you aware of.

Thus, the settlement will most likely be partial because you failed to engage in safe driving practices. In states where the seat belt law is not enforced, you can still receive the damages you feel suitable, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt when the accident occurred.

Comparative negligence relies upon certain variables:

  • The state where the collision took place
  • The type of accident
  • The severity of injuries

The first thing you should ask yourself in a situation like this is: who was responsible for the accident? In case of a car crash that happened because of defective electronic components or because of another person’s negligence, you have the right to request compensation from the manufacturer or the guilty driver.

The consequences of not wearing a seat belt

Not wearing the seatbelt does not change the fact that the crash was not your fault. Of course, you need to use the seat belt when driving, but the fact that it was not fastened at the time of the impact cannot change or offer the accused a chance to defend themselves.

Also, if you possess a medical certificate stating you have an affliction and you cannot wear the seat belt, you can receive compensation on the condition that the document’s period of validity has not expired.

In case of any discussions holding you responsible for contributory negligence by not using the safety belt, there are two consequences to acknowledge:

  • You are considered partially responsible for the injuries sustained.
  • The amount you receive could be reduced.

Under no circumstances can this scenario prohibit you from demanding compensation. However, if wearing a seat belt meant that your injuries would have been the same or even worse, there is a great chance that no money would be deducted from your compensation. You need to contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary and schedule an assessment of your case in order to gain an overall perspective on your particular situation.

For future reference, you should keep in mind that seat belts are an essential safety feature, and they need to be used. Many unpredictable things can happen in short-distance drives, and airbags are not designed to hold the driver or passenger in position during a potential crash. This is the primary function of the seat belt, to restrict body projection forward or sideward.

Many states apply fines for not wearing the seat belts (to both drivers and passengers), especially since it is a mandatory measure that prevents you from being ejected from the vehicle or forcefully thrown into the open airbag. This can lower your chances of being severely injured.

An accomplished car accident lawyer can provide competent advice and guidance according to the circumstances of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.