Car Accident Claim: Can Not Wearing a Seatbelt Reduce Your Compensation?

In the United States, most people understand the importance of fastening the seatbelt. According to the statistics, the national use rate was at 90.7% in 2019, a number consistent with the data from previous years. The same statistics show that 37,133 people lost their lives in auto accidents in 2017, and 47% of them were not wearing seat belts.

Under the California seatbelt law, every passenger must wear a seatbelt, even those sitting at the backseat. If the police pull you over, you have to pay $20 fine for a first offense and $50 fine for each subsequent offense. In case you become a victim of an auto accident due to the negligence of someone else, not wearing a seatbelt can also impact your compensation.

Can Not Wearing a Seatbelt Reduce Your Compensation?

According to the California judicial system, a defendant can use the principle of tort law called comparative negligence as a defense to reduce their fault in a case. For instance, a defendant who is only 70 percent at fault will only be liable to pay 70 percent of damages to the plaintiff. The percentage is determined by the court after evaluating the facts of the case.

Therefore, the defendant’s counsel can use seat belt defense to show your negligence and to reduce the amount of compensation that you get entitled to obtain due to your injuries. The defense will prove that your negligence, i.e., not wearing a seatbelt, contributed to the severity of your injuries, and the defendant shouldn’t be liable to pay for the victim’s negligence.

The court can reduce your compensation based on comparative negligence. If the judge or jury believes that a substantial part of your injuries could have been avoided if you were wearing a seatbelt, then the percentage would be at the higher end. However, if the court believes that seatbelt would have made less impact, then the percentage would be at the low end of the spectrum.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Chico, California, due to someone else’s negligence and want to initiate a legal claim, we can help! At the Law Offices of Ron Marquez, our experienced car accident lawyer will carefully examine your case and devise a strong legal strategy to help you maximize your settlement.

For a free case evaluation, give us a call at 530-332-8110 today!

Disclaimer: This blog does not provide legal advice and written for information purposes only. Reading the content of this blog or information contained on this site, or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


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