Wearing a seat belt is important, even if you are only going a short distance. No matter how carefully you drive, one factor you can never control on the road is the behavior of other drivers, and one of the best ways to protect yourself is by making sure you and your passengers are all buckled up. Accidents can happen at any time and any place, even if you ’re close to home.
But what happens if you aren’t wearing your seat belt when there’s an accident? Can you still file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries, vehicle damage, and other expenses from the person who caused the crash?
Here’s what you need to know about seat belts, including whether not wearing one can affect your legal claim for compensation after a crash, why seat belts are so important, and why you should talk to an attorney after your accident.
How Not Wearing a Seat Belt Affects Your Injury Claim
Insurance companies are typically for-profit companies that don’t make money by paying out on claims. Insurance adjusters are always on the lookout for ways to reduce or minimize the value of a claim after an accident. If you failed to follow the law and didn’t buckle your safety belt, the chances are good that the insurance company is going to try to devalue your claim for compensation, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. The insurer may argue that your injuries would not have been as bad if you were following the law and use that as a basis to try and reduce the compensation that you receive.
Insurers are notorious for trying to shift fault to victims to avoid paying out on claims. Having a personal injury attorney on your side as soon as possible after an accident, before the insurer has a chance to try any cheap tricks or dirty tactics, is one way to protect your legal rights. The truth is that you have a right to receive complete compensation for your injuries and other expenses related to the crash. If the insurance company wants to make a claim that there is some external factor that reduces the value of your claim and lowers your compensation accordingly, the burden of proof lies with the insurer to demonstrate that fact, and your attorney can help you make sure that your right to compensation is protected from the very beginning.
Important Seat Belt Information and Statistics
As of 2009, using a seat belt is the law in Texas. State law says that everyone in the vehicle needs to be buckled up or in an age-appropriate restraint such as a car seat or booster, and that goes for passengers in the front seat as well as the back. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $200, and possibly six hours of an approved seat belt education course.
Aside from avoiding fines and mandatory education, wearing a seat belt saves lives. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 3,721 people died in car crashes in our state in 2017, and over 40 percent of fatalities weren’t wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. That’s nearly 1,500 lives that may have been saved if they had been using appropriate restraints.
Get Legal Help Today
Whether you were wearing a seat belt or not, you are entitled to compensation for the expenses related to an accident caused by someone else, including emergency medical treatment, follow-up care, physical therapy or rehabilitation, vehicle repair or replacement, and other damages, and the attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP are here to assist you with the recovery process.
We have spent decades standing up for the legal rights of those who have been injured in accidents caused by the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of others, and we want to help you and your family seek the compensation that you are owed in a court of law.
For a free, no-obligation consultation about your accident situation, reach out to Wayne Wright LLP today by phone, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.