Can I Pursue a Car Accident Claim if I Didn't Have my Seat Belt On?
The bottom line is that all motorists are required by law to wear seat belts in the State of Florida – and throughout the country – and these safety devices save lives. This said, failing to wear a seat belt will not preclude you from seeking compensation for the percentage of your losses that the other driver is responsible for in a car accident claim. If you’ve been harmed by another driver’s negligence, it’s time to consult with an experienced Florida car accident attorney.
In Florida, motorists who are injured by the negligence of others can go after compensation for the percentage of their losses that the other motorist is responsible for. As such, while not wearing a seat belt is unlikely to play a role in causing the accident that leaves you injured, it can increase the severity of your injuries and, therefore, the losses you experience. Let’s look at how this works in Florida:
- If a speeding driver, for example, leaves you injured in a car accident, you can file a car accident claim in pursuit of compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional losses you experience.
- If you didn’t contribute to the accident in any way, but you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time, a percentage of fault can be assigned to you because of you not wearing your seat belt.
- Your total covered losses will be reduced by this percentage to calculate the compensation to which you are entitled.
- If you suffered $100,000 in damages and you’re assigned 25 percent fault, your compensation will be $75,000 – by way of an oversimplified example.
In other words, you can file a car accident claim if you weren’t wearing a seat belt, but you should expect this fact to affect the outcome of your claim.
The losses – or legal damages – you experience because of being injured by another driver’s negligence in a car accident can include all the following basic categories:
- Property damage to your vehicle and its contents, which is not likely to be affected by your failure to wear a seat belt
- Medical expenses, which very likely will be affected by your failure to buckle up
- Lost earnings, which your failure to put on your seat belt can indirectly affect – in direct relation to the severity of your injuries
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering, which can be directly affected by the increased severity of the injuries you suffer
Turn to an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney for the Help You Need
The trusted Florida car accident attorneys at Matthews Injury Law appreciate the predicament you find yourself in and want you to know that you don’t have to be entirely blameless in order to obtain just compensation after being injured by another driver’s negligence. Car accident claims are complicated, and the element of not wearing a seat belt is simply another complicating factor that we are well prepared to skillfully handle. For more information, please contact or call us at 941-877-5800 today.