The Role Seat Belt Laws Play In Auto Accident Lawsuits
If you were involved in an accident with a negligent driver, then they may be found liable for your injuries. However, what happens if you failed to wear a seat belt during the accident? Does this affect your claim? Today, we will go over the role seat belt laws play in auto accident lawsuits.
What Is The Florida Seat Belt Law?
This law states that everyone in Florida is required to wear a safety belt while operating a vehicle. In addition to the driver of the vehicle, all passengers must wear their seat belts when sitting in the front seat. If you are a passenger under the age of eighteen and are sitting in the back, the same law applies to you. If you have a child who is under three years old, they need to be in a federally approved restraint seat in the backseat.
These are just a few of the main Florida seat belt laws that you should keep in mind. If you are caught not wearing a seat belt, you can receive fines of between $30 and $60 depending on your age.
Why Should We Wear Seat Belts?
Seat belts can save lives as long as they are worn correctly. If you get into an auto accident or collision, the seat belt may be all that stands between you and the windshield. It also helps secure you in the vehicle so you aren't thrown into the seats, doors, or the other passengers. For drivers, the seat belt keeps them safely behind the wheel, where they can try to maintain control of the vehicle. It also keeps them from going through the windshield.
How Do Seat Belt Laws Affect My Claim?
If you were involved in an accident with a negligent driver, under Florida statutes, they are responsible for any injuries you sustain as a result of that accident. However, Florida has also adopted what is known as the pure comparative negligence doctrine when it comes to liability.
Under this doctrine, if you were involved in an accident with a negligent driver and you failed to wear your seat belt, the amount of compensation you receive for the accident may be reduced. This is also often referred to as negligent fault.
Not wearing your seat belt at the time of an accident may lead to your injuries becoming more severe than if you had worn your seat belt. That’s why the insurance company will consider that you are a certain percentage liable for your injuries.
What Is Florida's Seat Belt Defense?
With Florida's Seat Belt Defense, you can lose a percentage of your settlement because you failed to wear your seat belt even if the other driver, for example, was speeding and ran through a red light when they hit you.
A $100,000 insurance claim that includes injuries, lost wages, and other damages can be reduced by 15 percent due to the failure to wear a seat belt, which means you will only receive approximately 85 percent of the initial compensation amount.
If this sounds similar to an accident you were recently involved in, you may want to seek out a seasoned personal injury attorney to help with your claim. Also, next time you think about getting into a car in Florida without securing your seat belt, you should think back to all of the consequences you may have to face as a result of this poor decision.