Can Seat Belts Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you were not wearing a seat belt when you were injured by another driver’s negligence, you may have serious concerns about whether this fact will affect your claim. The answer is that – while you are always safer when you have a seat belt on, are always encouraged to wear yours, and may be legally required to do so – the State of Georgia does not allow the so-called seat belt defense to be used in traffic accident cases.
This means that whether you were wearing a seat belt will have no bearing on your claim or the compensation which you are eligible to receive. One of the most important steps you can take to help protect your legal rights and your claim is reaching out to an experienced Suwanee traffic accident attorney early in the process.
Seat Belts Save Lives
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following in relation to seat belt usage:
- Buckling up is one of the safest choices you can make as a driver and as a passenger.
- In 2021, the national seat belt usage rate held steady at 90.4 percent.
- In a recent year, seat belt usage saved nearly 15,000 lives.
- Of the 23,824 traffic fatalities in 2020, more than half were not wearing seat belts, which is a 4 percent jump over 2019.
Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety encourages everyone traveling in a vehicle to wear a seat belt at all times and specifically requires :
- Everyone riding in the vehicle’s front seat must be buckled up.
- Children between the ages of 8 and 15 must be buckled up regardless of where they ride.
- Children who are under the age of 8 must be restrained by a safety or booster seat that is recommended for their age and size.
If you are injured in a car accident in which you were not wearing a seat belt, you can be ticketed by the police, but this fact will not affect your car accident claim.
Compensation for Injuries in Georgia
In Georgia, a victim of another driver’s negligence is not penalized for not wearing a seat belt. The fact that the victim was not wearing a seat belt does not diminish the other driver’s negligence in the matter. In fact, Georgia courts deem information related to seat belt usage inadmissible in traffic accident negligence cases.
While you are safer when you wear a seat belt, not doing so should not play a role in your ability to recover for your full range of losses, including:
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Lost income from hours lost on the job
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
An Experienced Georgia Traffic Accident Attorney Can Help
The practiced traffic accident attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland – proudly serving Suwanee, Georgia – have an impressive track record of guiding claims like yours toward highly successful outcomes. We’re here for you, too, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 770-887-1209 for more information today.