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If you were in a car accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt, you may be wondering whether that may have an impact on your claim. The truth is that your right to compensation may, but need not, be impacted by whether you were wearing your seatbelt. A victim of an automobile accident may be able to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault driver or the motorist’s car insurance provider.
When victims and their families come to us, we assess the facts of their case and determine the available options for making a financial recovery. Our extensive knowledge and experience representing injury victims allows us to accurately assess the viability of car accident cases.
For a free consultation with car accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group, call (800) 863-5312 today.
What Happens When You Don’t Wear A Seatbelt In An Accident?
It goes without saying that if you’re not wearing a seat belt, you have a much higher chance of being hurt or killed during an accident. Without a seatbelt, you increase your chances of being ejected from the vehicle.
At lower speeds, secondary collisions within the car and the airbag are likely to occur, causing more damage than the initial impact.
State law punishes people who fail to wear their seatbelts, by making it a misdemeanor offense to drive without a seatbelt. By wearing your seatbelt, you are not only protected from harmful secondary collisions that will contribute to your injuries, but you also stay in accordance with the law.
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Will Insurance Cover You If You Don’t Wear a Seatbelt?
Yes, insurance will cover you, even if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident. However, your claim will be impacted, and you might not receive as much money as you had hoped for or expected, but you are still eligible for compensation.
Contrary to what many people think, their insurance policy is not always clear-cut. Having an attorney examine your insurance can help determine whether the damage you incurred is covered by your policy.
How Many Accidents Are Caused by Not Wearing Seat Belts?
Recent data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proves wearing a seatbelt can save lives. Below are several important statistics regarding seatbelt safety in the United States.
- Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.
- Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts.
- A total of 22,697 drivers and passengers in passenger vehicles died in motor vehicle crashes in 2018.
- More than half (range: 51%-60%) of teens (13-19 years) and adults aged 20-44 years who died in crashes in 2018 were not buckled up at the time of the crash.
- If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45% and moderate to critical injury by 50%.
- More than 2.2 million drivers and passengers were treated in the emergency department as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2018.
- Non-fatal crash injuries to drivers and passengers resulted in almost $62 billion in lifetime medical and work loss costs in 2017.
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What If You Were a Passenger In a Car Accident While Not Wearing a Seat Belt?
Car owners are accountable for their passenger’s behavior while operating the vehicle. If the person is not using a seat belt, the driver may also be held accountable for the injuries sustained by the passenger. Drivers must therefore urge passengers to wear their seatbelts, even if the passenger objects.
All front-seat occupants, including drivers, are required to wear seat belts by state law. Additionally, every state requires that all passengers under the age of 15 buckle up, regardless of where they are seated in the car.
It is perfectly acceptable for drivers to demand that passengers buckle up. Drivers are even responsible for making sure there are enough seatbelts and that they are all in good functioning order. Lastly, drivers must never attempt to transport more passengers than their vehicle has seatbelts for.
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Can I File a Lawsuit If I Don’t Wear a Seat Belt?
You may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for your bodily, emotional, and monetary losses if another motorist caused a collision and you were injured. Depending on whether you have proof of the other driver’s negligence, you can and should proceed by filing a claim against the negligent driver.
You are still eligible to file a case even if you were not using a seat belt at the time of the collision. However, it might affect how much money you get paid. Therefore, you should talk to a vehicle accident lawyer who can help with gathering documents, testimony, and other proof that the other motorist was negligent or reckless behind the wheel.
Car Insurance Claims Versus Personal Injury Lawsuits
An automobile insurance claim is a business transaction, not a legal one. Due to their financial incentive to pay as little as possible on claims, insurance firms may direct their investigations toward assigning responsibility or minimizing the amount of damage. A personal injury attorney can fight for you at the settlement table if you’re having trouble getting an insurance payout.
It’s important to focus on other legal options if you and the insurance are unable to come to an amicable settlement. For example, you can hire an attorney to initiate a bargaining procedure that results in a settlement worth your time. A jury trial may begin if no settlement can be reached, and then the judge or jury will decide how much money you are entitled to in damages.
Can I Still Get a Settlement If I Didn’t Wear My Seatbelt in a Car Accident?
When the claims adjuster has concluded his or her investigation, the findings of the investigation will be reported back to the insurance company. At that point, the insurance company will either deny your claim or offer to settle your claim for a certain amount.
In many cases, the insurance company’s initial settlement offer is far lower than the claim’s actual value. Insurance companies utilize this “lowball” tactic in hopes that desperate claimants will accept any amount of money to have cash on hand as quickly as possible.
However, it’s important to remember that this settlement offer can be negotiated. Unfortunately, many claimants simply do not have the time, patience, or experience to effectively negotiate with billion-dollar insurance companies. Thus, consulting with an experienced car accident injury attorney may put you in a better position to receive the full value of your claim.
Schedule your free case evaluation with Zinda Law Group Car accident lawyers today
Zinda Law Group has a team of experienced car accident attorneys ready and willing to enforce your rights following a car accident. In addition to years of experience navigating and settling car accident claims, we also have access to a wide range of resources that may be used to strengthen your claim’s merit and value. Allow us to handle your claim and protect your rights while you devote your time and energy to recovering as quickly as possible.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. It’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
To learn more about filing a claim and what our team of car accident attorneys may do for you, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free case evaluation. Check out our blog for more helpful resources.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
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