The Effect Failing to Wear a Seatbelt Can Have on a Personal Injury Claim
At this point, most people understand that there is risk associated with failing to wear a seatbelt. For example, most of us know that in Florida, there is a law that requires drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt and that failing to do so is illegal and can lead to fines and other similar implications. However, there is another risk that can have even more widespread effects. That is the risk of becoming injured in a car accident.
Here in the Sunshine State, you may be able to file a personal injury claim with your own insurance or the insurance company of the other driver after a car accident injury that can help offset damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if you were not wearing a seat belt when the accident took place, do you know what effect that fact could have on your claim?
How Risky is the Failure to Wear a Seatbelt?
Unfortunately, statistics suggest that the failure to wear a seatbelt can have especially tragic results. Statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that in 2017, 47 percent of the 37,133 people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts. That same year, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved more than 2,500 other people if they had been wearing seat belts.
What Effect Can Failing to Wear a Seatbelt Have on a Personal Injury Claim?
The most common question that arises is whether there is still a right to recover compensation for the damages you sustained if you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of a car accident. The simple answer is, yes.
However, that doesn’t mean that failing to wear a seatbelt won’t have any impact on your claim. Importantly, it has long been a concept in this state that the failure to wear a seat belt is a factor that should be considered in determining responsibility for car accidents. See Ridley v. Safety Kleen Corp.
Florida uses a comparative fault statute for figuring out which party was negligent or in other words, who is to blame. That means that failing to wear a seat belt in a circumstance when you were legally required to do so may reduce the amount you of compensation you will recover. The reward amount that you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault for your injuries and the accident.
Are You Concerned About Your Legal Options After an Accident?
As the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm, we understand what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. We can look over the facts of your case and ensure that your personal injury case goes smoothly while supporting you in maximizing your chances for success so you can receive the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today so we can begin helping you understand your next steps.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Orlando, Miami, Ocala, Bradenton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach areas.