What Is the ‘Seat Belt Defense?’
Under California law, both drivers and passengers are required to wear a seatbelt. The state enacted this law based on the belief that mandatory seatbelt use will reduce injuries and death for both drivers and passengers. This belief is supported by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which states “seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.”
What Is The Seat Belt Defense?
The “seat belt defense” is a defense employed by attorneys for at-fault drivers to place some blame for injuries on the injury victim. This defense is used in cases where the injured person either wasn’t wearing his or her seat belt, or there is some question as to whether he or she was wearing a seat belt. The defense attorney will argue that the injured person would be less injured if he or she had been wearing a seat belt.
The goal of the insurance company is to reduce the amount paid to accident victim for his or her injuries. Fewer injuries typically means lower medical bills, smaller wage loss due to missed work, a speedier recovery, less pain and suffering, etc; Using the seat belt defense is a tactic used by the insurance company to reduce payouts to personal injury victims.
How The Seat Belt Defense Is Applied
When someone is injured in a car crash, they are frequently able to collect compensation for their injuries. This compensation can include the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Typically, these costs are paid by the defendant’s insurance company.
However, failure to wear a seat belt violates the California Vehicle Code. Consequently, this violation rises to the same level as violating California laws against speeding, running red lights, or failing to use turn signals. Any one of these violations can be considered as “contributing” to the accident or severity of injuries sustained in the accident. Committing one of these violations, including, failure to wear a seatbelt while operating or riding in a vehicle, can reduce the amount of compensation an injured plaintiff can receive.
How To Deal With The Insurance Company After A Car Accident
The car accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP have been helping auto accident victims and their families for nearly 30 years. During that time, we have represented thousands of injured drivers and passengers. We have extensive experience dealing with the auto insurance company to ensure that our clients receive maximum compensation.
Before you speak with an insurance representative, call us at 1-800-718-4658 for a free, no-pressure consultation to learn more about your right to compensation for your injuries.