Wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car should be second nature to most people. Not only is it the law in most states, but it can also save your life. But what if you’re not wearing your seatbelt and you’re seriously injured in an accident caused by another driver. Can your failure to wear a seatbelt be used against you?
Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. It is also illegal for front seat passengers not to wear a seatbelt. In addition, any passenger in the car that is under the age of 18 must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a car seat at all times.
Why Use a Seatbelt
The use of seatbelts is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in car crashes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seatbelt use reduces serious crash-related injuries and death by about half. More than half of teens and adults who died in car accidents in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the crash.
Seatbelt Use and Your Personal Injury Claim
If you are seriously injured in a car accident as the result of another driver’s negligence, you may still have a claim against the driver even if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident. However, the fact that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt could be used as proof that you were at least partially responsible for your own injury. Florida operates under the doctrine of comparative negligence, meaning that your recovery for an accident will be limited by the amount of your own responsibility for your injuries. So,if a jury finds that you suffered $100,000 in damages as a result of a car accident, but that you were 25% at fault for the injuries because you failed to wear a seatbelt, then you would only be entitled to recover $75,000 from the at-fault driver. A jury would have to consider whether the injuries could have been prevented or could have been less severe if the victim had worn a seatbelt.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.