Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important safety measures you can take while driving or riding in a car. Not only does it protect you from serious injuries and death, but it can also affect your ability to recover compensation in the event of a car accident. In California, not wearing a seat belt can have a significant impact on a car accident claim or lawsuit.
First and foremost, not wearing a seat belt can contribute to the severity of your injuries in a car accident. When you are not properly restrained, your body is free to move around the vehicle during a collision, which can lead to much more serious injuries than if you were wearing a seat belt. These injuries can include head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries, which can be life-threatening and require extensive medical treatment.
In addition to the potential for more severe injuries, not wearing a seat belt can also affect your ability to recover compensation for your losses. In California, the state follows the “comparative negligence” rule which states that an individual who is found to be partially responsible for an accident can still recover damages, but the amount of damages will be reduced by the percentage of the individual’s fault. This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries because you were not wearing a seat belt, your award for damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Furthermore, in a trial, the defense may argue that the accident victim’s injuries were caused or made worse by their failure to wear a seat belt, which can make it more difficult to prove liability and recover damages from the other driver. This is because the defense can argue that the injuries would have been less severe if the plaintiff had been wearing their seat belt.
It’s important to note that California has a “primary enforcement” seatbelt law, which means that an officer may stop and ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, regardless of whether any other violation has occurred. Therefore, not wearing a seat belt can be used as evidence of negligence in a lawsuit.
The main reason to wear a seat belt is to protect yourself from harm in the event of an accident. It’s simply important to understand that failure to wear a seat belt can also have a negative influence on any future legal proceedings if you’re ever involved in an accident resulting from the negligence of another party.
Hopefully, this won’t happen to you. However, if you ever are hurt in a California car accident because someone else is careless, you may be eligible to receive compensation.
Review your case with a car accident lawyer at Allegiance Law for more information. If you have a valid case, we can help you pursue the compensation you may deserve. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 415-404-6395.