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Can I Still Get Compensation If I Wasn’t Wearing A Seat Belt At The Time Of The Accident In Sarasota?

One of the most basic rules of driving—or being in a car in general—is to use seat belts. Seat belts were made to protect the driver and passengers from injuries in the event of a car accident. In fact, not wearing a seat belt is illegal. So, if you got into a car accident while not wearing a seat belt, do you still have rights to get compensation?

Can You Still Get Compensation If You Were Not Buckled Up?

Seat belts are required by law everywhere because they help prevent or minimize injuries and fatalities during a car accident. Non-compliance with seat belt laws do not actively cause accidents. Auto accidents are caused by drivers’ negligence, road hazards, and such, but not the failure to wear seat belts. As such, you are entitled to still get compensation from your Personal Injury Protection insurance after a car accident in Sarasota, or anywhere in Florida.

If neither of the parties involved files a lawsuit, you will rely on your PIP insurance, per the No-Fault Law of Florida. While you can get compensation, it is likely that the insurance company will try to reduce the amount you are entitled to when they learn that you were not wearing a seat belt.

Can You Still File A Lawsuit Against The At-Fault Party?

If you were the victim in the auto accident, you may still file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Yes, even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt. The state of Florida follows a pure comparative negligence law. This means that in the case of a lawsuit, you can still get compensation even if you contributed to the accident, as long as the fault is not 100% theirs. With Florida’s pure comparative negligence, the court shall determine how much fault is attributed to each party. They will then pay the corresponding amount for their fault.

With that said, if you were not wearing a seat belt, you can still get compensation or settlement from the other party. However, you should be aware that the other party will definitely use this fact to minimize your compensation in an attempt to minimize their own losses.

The Seat Belt Defense

To sum up, not wearing a seat belt will not forfeit your right to get compensation from your insurance provider or the at-fault party. However, it will affect the quality of your claims. The other party, especially, will try to minimize their losses meaning — your compensation. Typically, they will do this by trying to minimize their fault and emphasizing yours. If you were also not wearing a seat belt, they will argue that by not wearing an accident, you have incurred more and more severe injuries. They will argue, then, that you deserve less compensation because of it.

Furthermore, the court itself may consider the non-compliance to Florida seat belt laws as fault, and thus reduce the overall compensation amount you can get.
Overall, not wearing a seat belt will have a negative impact on your case, particularly in the amount of compensation you can get. So, it is best to always follow the laws and keep yourself safer with a seat belt whenever you drive or sit on the passenger seat.

Your Best Defense

The fact that you were not wearing a seat belt should not discourage you from getting the right compensation. However, as has been explained, not wearing a seat belt has negative impacts on your case. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you in building a strong defense against the seat belt defense and still get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to call us today.

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

Can I Still Get Compensation If I Wasn’t Wearing A Seat Belt At The Time Of The Accident In Sarasota?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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