Can I Pursue a Car Accident Claim if I didn't have My Seatbelt On?
In Georgia, everyone must wear seatbelts in the front seat of vehicles, and minors under age 15 must wear seatbelts, no matter where they are sitting. Failure to wear a seatbelt in a car crash can result in more serious injuries, ejections, and other devastating consequences including death. However, if someone else caused the accident, they still have liability for the injuries and losses that they caused to all of the victims.
Not wearing seatbelts raises questions about personal responsibility and the potential impact on a car accident claim. However, the State of Georgia has a law which restricts the insurance company and their lawyers from telling the jury that the injured plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt. Do not let the insurance adjuster minimize your claim for failure to wear a seatbelt!
You should always seek guidance from a Georgia car accident attorney if you find yourself injured after a crash without a seatbelt.
You Can File a Claim if Someone Else Was at Fault
If another party's negligence or actions caused the car accident, the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt should not bar you from pursuing a claim against the at-fault party. Some reasons someone else might be to blame include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Running red lights
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
If you can establish someone else was negligent, you can file a claim against their insurance. However, the insurance company might seek to reduce your compensation by a certain percentage because you were not wearing a seatbelt. Your personal injury attorney will not let them to reduce your claim in violation of Georgia statute.
Comparative Negligence in Georgia
Comparative negligence allows injury victims to recover for their injuries from liable parties but decreases their compensation if they partially contributed to their injuries. If you were not wearing a seatbelt, insurers may try to claim you made your injuries worse and that you were partially responsible.
Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system, specifically the 50% rule. Under this law, an injured party can pursue a personal injury claim even if they were partially at fault for the accident, as long as their degree of fault is less than 50%. However, if the injured party is deemed 50% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any damages.
However not wearing a seatbelt did not cause the collision, so insurers should never be able to accuse you of being more than 50% responsible for your injuries. Yet adjusters will try to reduce your settlement as much as possible. You need to have a highly skilled attorney handling your claim and fighting for maximum compensation.
Seek Help from a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer
While wearing a seatbelt is a crucial safety measure, failing to wear one does not bar you from pursuing a car accident claim in Georgia. However, you will still have to fight for the maximum amount you deserve, as insurance companies are less likely to offer full compensation for these cases.
Consulting with a car accident attorney at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland ensures that your rights are protected and that you receive the appropriate legal guidance based on the specifics of your case. Contact us for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.