In approximately 16 states, there’s a defense that the supposed at-fault party can use against you during your car accident claim. This defense is referred to as the “seat belt defense.”
If the at-fault party, along with their attorney, are able to prove that you (the plaintiff in the car accident personal injury lawsuit) was not wearing your seat belt when the car accident occurred, then your compensation may be reduced – significantly. In some cases, damages may be reduced if you didn’t wear your seat belt – even if the injuries you suffered were completely due to another person’s actions.
The seat belt defense is a pretty controversial topic in some jurisdictions. Some make the argument that it is unfair and harsh, while others say that it is the law to wear your seat belt so there should be some type of repercussion for any violations related to this essential injury-reducing, potentially life-saving law.
When Does the Seat Belt Defense Apply?
It’s important for you to understand that the seat belt defense is not a law that has been adopted everywhere in the U.S. Your personal injury attorney can offer your more information regarding if your area has this law in place. Keep in mind, the seat belt defense isn’t limited to just the drivers who are trying to recover damages from an auto accident injury. It can also apply to any passengers who may have suffered an injury during a car accident and who are seeking compensation for their injuries.
Understanding How the Seat Belt Defense Works
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries you incurred when hit by someone else, it’s important that you fully understand how the seat belt defense works.
Personal injury litigation has been designed to determine who is at fault for the resulting damages or injuries. This seat belt defense goes right to the heart of this liability analysis.
For example, if you were involved in a rear-end collision and you suffer head trauma after being hit from behind, you will try to establish the injury is due to the car that hit you. However, if you weren’t wearing a seat belt when this accident occurred, then it can impact the judge’s or jury’s decision on the amount of compensation you receive – if any.
Building a Defense to Recover Compensation
If you are worried that the at-fault driver may try to use the seat belt defense against your claim for compensation, one of the best things you can do is hire an experienced car accident attorney. They can work to build your case by gathering evidence and witness testimony to show that the injuries and damages occurred were due to negligence of the other driver. In some cases, this is enough to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to hire a personal injury attorney if you are in this situation. They can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages you suffered. While there are some defenses to car accident lawsuits, with a quality attorney, these are things you won’t have to worry about.
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