How Can Not Wearing A Seat Belt Affect Your Florida Auto Accident Claim?
According to Florida Statute 316.614 (Safety belt usage/Florida Safety Belt Law), all drivers must wear seat belts when driving. Front-seat passengers are also required by Florida law to wear seat belts. Failure to wear a seat belt can result in a person facing penalties, such as fines. Apart from that, not wearing a seat belt can affect an auto accident claim. Indeed, just because you were not wearing a seat belt when your Florida auto accident occurred does not mean your auto accident case will be automatically dismissed. However, not wearing a seat belt can result in the deduction of the compensation awarded.
Read on to understand how not wearing a seat belt can affect your Florida auto accident claim.
Benefits of Wearing a Seat Belt
Before looking at how not wearing a seat belt can affect your Florida car accident claim, it is crucial for you to know about the benefits of wearing a seat belt. Often, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of serious injuries or death in the event of an accident. A seat belt can, for example, reduce the risk of a driver or passenger suffering severe injuries or dying by preventing them from being ejected from the car in the event of a crash. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of severe injuries by 50% among drivers and front-seat passengers. The CDC estimates that seat belt use saves thousands of lives every year. Because of this, the CDC encourages an increasing use of seat belts.
How Can Not Wearing a Seat Belt Affect Your Florida Auto Accident Claim?
If you got severely injured in a Florida auto accident and you were not wearing a safety belt at the time of your accident, once you file a claim against another person, that person may bring up the “seat belt defense.”
A defendant asserts the “seat belt defense” by showing that;
- a plaintiff failed to use a seat belt
- a plaintiff’s failure to use a seat belt was unreasonable under the circumstances
- a plaintiff’s failure to use a seat belt caused or contributed to their injuries and damages.
Fortunately, your auto accident case will not be automatically dismissed just because you were not wearing a safety belt at the time of your accident. In Florida, you can still obtain compensation even if the defendant manages to assert the “seat belt defense” as long as you can prove negligence on the defendant’s part. Florida’s pure comparative negligence law allows plaintiffs to recover compensation even if they are partially to blame for their accident or injuries. However, if it is determined that your failure to wear a seat belt made your injuries worse, the amount of compensation you obtain from the defendant will be reduced by the percentage by which your violation made your injuries worse. For instance, if you sustained an injury and it was determined that your failure to wear a seat belt made your injuries 20% worse, you can still make a claim based on the remaining 80% of the fault of your injuries assigned to the defendant.
Contact a Parkland Car Accident Lawyer
If you need professional legal help after getting into an auto accident while not wearing a seat belt, contact a qualified Parkland car accident lawyer at Lyons & Snyder today.