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Does Seatbelt Use Affect Liability & Damages?



With the exception of New Hampshire, every state now requires automobile drivers and their front-seat passengers to wear a seatbelt. If you've been involved in a car crash where one of the parties wasn't wearing a seatbelt, you may wonder how that will affect liability and damages in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. That's a good question.

State Laws Vary

The evidence is clear: Seat belts reduce the risk of injuries and save lives. So it stands to reason that if you're involved in an automobile accident and aren't wearing a seat belt, you will probably suffer more serious injuries than if you had been wearing a seatbelt.

If another driver was at fault in the accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in an effort to collect compensation for your accident-related expenses, such as your medical bills and lost wages.

You may be asking yourself if you'll somehow be penalized because you weren't wearing a seatbelt. State laws vary.

In California, for example, you're only able to recover compensation for the injuries you would have received if you were wearing a seatbelt, not the injuries you actually received because you weren't wearing a seatbelt.

In Maryland, on the other hand, the law specifically says that failure to use a seatbelt cannot be used against someone in a personal injury lawsuit:

"A party, witness, or counsel may not make reference to a seat belt during a trial of a civil action that involves property damage, personal injury, or death if the damage, injury, or death is not related to the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt."

If you've been injured in a car crash and seatbelt usage may be a factor, talk to an automobile accident attorney to learn about your state's seatbelt laws and whether it will make it more difficult to recover full compensation for your injuries.

Visit LawyerLocator to learn more about auto accident injuries or to find a personal injury lawyer in your area.

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