Seatbelts Save Lives & Your Personal Injury ClaimSeatbelts save lives. Statistics show that bucking up in the front seat of a passenger car can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. Not only is it smart to wear your seatbelt, it is the law in Texas. Yet, regardless of how persuasive the statistics or the laws may be, nearly 27.5 million Americans still refuse to buckle up. Aside from the obvious safety concerns involved with such a decision, there are also legal repercussions for not doing so—beyond just a ticket. If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, failure to wear your seatbelt could shift the blame for your injuries to you. This means that the compensation for your injuries could be reduced in a personal injury case.
Could Not Wearing a Seat Belt Hurt Your Personal Injury Case?To understand how not wearing a seatbelt can affect your personal injury claim, you must understand how tort law works. The rules of tort law are designed to place the burden on the plaintiff, or the person bringing a claim, to prove several different things before they can recover compensation from a car accident. These include the following:
- Negligence on the part of the defendant: this means that the defendant failed to act with due care that any reasonable driver would have acted with.
- Causation: this means proving that the other driver’s negligence was the direct or proximate cause of the injuries and that the injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence of the other driver.
- Damages: this is the actual harm you suffered such as injuries, emotional distress or lost wages.