The Role of Seat Belt Use in a Car Accident Liability

Florida law requires that all passengers and drivers of vehicles be wearing seatbelts. It is required by law. There are many cases of car accidents where the driver failed to buckle up.

You could sustain more severe and even fatal injuries if this happens. Your Tampa personal accident claim can be negatively affected if you don’t buckle up.

It Is Not Only the Law, It Can Also Affect Your Claim

This could make it difficult to file a claim if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt when the accident occurred. A seatbelt-wearing driver is more favorable to the court. It is against the law to not use a seatbelt. However, it could have helped reduce your injuries.

However, even if your seatbelt was not buckled, you might still be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Let’s suppose you were struck by another vehicle. It is possible that even if your seatbelt was on, you would have suffered injuries. The person who caused the crash was the one responsible.

However, regardless of who caused the crash, the judge may not award the same amount of compensation if you didn’t protect yourself by wearing a seatbelt.

What Is the Seatbelt Defense?

Sometimes victims of car accidents contribute to their injuries. This can happen in certain situations, even though it wasn’t intended.

If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time you were injured, the defendant may argue that you contributed partially to the accident. This is known as the “seatbelt defense.”

Let’s suppose another car hits you. Medical attention, lost wages, pain and suffering can all add up to $100,000. To help pay these costs, you decide to file a personal injury claim.

If the judge examines your case and finds that you were not wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened, they might reduce your compensation.

If you don’t buckle up, the judge may consider you partially responsible for your injuries.

This is known as “comparative fault” (or “comparative negligence”).

Florida statute SS 761.81 says that a plaintiff’s negligence does not prevent them from filing a lawsuit but it “diminishes proportionally the amount of compensation” they can receive.

This post was written by Okoye Morgan Jr., a lawyer with extensive knowledge as a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, FL. Okoye is one of the founding partners of The Black Law Company, specializing in personal injury law, trust and estate law, civil litigation law, and criminal defense. 

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.


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