It is hard to believe that seatbelts were not mandatory and were not even included in the vehicles until 1968. Today, seatbelts are one of the standard safety features in every type of vehicle. Most Boston, MA car accident attorneys will ask you whether you were wearing a seatbelt during the accident.
Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory in many states. Not wearing it is considered an offense. Some states require the driver and the passenger on the front seat must wear seatbelts.
However, it is not uncommon that many people wear the seatbelt because they fear the penalties, rather than having it on and remain protected if an accident occurs.
Are You Eligible for Filing if You Weren’t Wearing a Seatbelt?
Many people wonder if they are eligible for filing a lawsuit if they were involved in a car accident (not caused by them), but did not have the seatbelt on when the crash occurred.
The answer to this question is yes; you can sue the other party and seek compensation.
But, before you head towards the nearest law firm and start this process, let’s discuss this answer in detail.
Being involved or injured in a car accident that was caused by another person is not a joke. People get severe injuries, end up paying crazy amounts for medical bills, lost wages, and their lives change completely.
Essentials About Compensation
If you are looking for compensation, it is essential to know that the money you will get depend mainly on whether you wore a seatbelt or not.
Also, it is crucial in what state you were in when the accident occurred. For example, some states require all adults (driver and passengers) to wear seatbelts while traveling in a vehicle. Some states don’t expect that. At the end of the day, what you want is to get your compensation.
Insurance companies and the defendant have one goal – to pay you as little as possible. They will do their best to do this. In case you did not wear a seatbelt, they will work hard to prove that it was partially your fault that you got injured. Therefore, they will do their best to pay as little as possible.
Perhaps this sounds harsh, but when it comes to money, people are ready to play with every card that will prevent them from giving it away. Such a legal principle is called comparative negligence and is used to lower the compensation paid to the injured person.
Let’s say the judge determines that the person who caused the accident carries the more significant part of the accident. But, you have that tiny percentage of fault, because you did not wear a seatbelt. If we put this in percent, you carry the 10% fault, and the other party takes 90% fault. In money, this will mean that the compensation will be lowered by 10%. So, if your compensation was, let’s say $5000, you will receive $4500 (reduced by 10%).
Some states rule that if the passenger decided not to wear the seatbelt as negligent behavior. The passenger is required by law (in some states) to wear that seatbelt; this means it was the passenger’s duty to protect themselves while traveling in that vehicle. The passenger neglected the duty and put himself or herself in danger. So, when the passenger gets injured and then sues for compensation, the state sees this as an arrogant attitude; you seek compensation for injuries that were partially caused by your fault.
Comparative negligence is not the same for every case. Many factors will affect the amount of compensation, such as the severity of the injuries and type of accident. Comparative negligence also depends on what state you were in when the accident occurred. If the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt is more than fifty percent responsible for your injuries, then your chances for your compensation significantly lower.
Get an Attorney in Your Corner
Auto accidents are happening all the time. Even if you don’t think it could happen to you (no matter how good of a driver you are), the danger is still there. Accidents can cause serious injuries that will require medical help, and therefore, thousands of dollars of medical bills. Not to mention, lost wages, car reparations as well.
Besides getting your medical help, it is crucial to call a skillful car accident attorney that will help you get the compensation you deserve. No matter if your injuries are life-threatening or not as severe, you need to call a Boston car accident lawyer. Call our personal injury law firm in Boston, MA and schedule your first free consultation.