How Seat Belts Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
Most motorists and passengers know that they must buckle up to protect their safety on the road and because it’s the law. But not everyone may remember to wear their seat belt, particularly during emergency rides or traveling short distances. Following a motor vehicle crash in Georgia where you suffered serious injuries because of another driver’s negligence, you have the legal right to file a personal injury claim to recover your crash-associated damages.
But what if you were not wearing your seat belt when the crash occurred? Would you still be able to file a claim? Fortunately – yes – you can still file a personal injury claim to recoup compensation even if you were not wearing a seat belt during the crash.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt Will NOT Impact Your Personal Injury Claim In Georgia
Many people automatically assume that they will be found negligent when they were not buckled up during a car crash because the law requires the usage of seat belts when riding motor vehicles. But this is simply not the case. The negligent party will always be the one whose actions caused the crash, regardless of whether the other party was wearing a seat belt or not.
Under the Georgia Code, the fact that an accident victim was not wearing a seat belt during the accident is inadmissible during the trial and cannot be used for establishing negligence and causation or raising questions about liability and the recovery of damages. This means that you can’t be held legally responsible for the crash for not wearing a seat belt.
The main purpose of this statute was to make sure that at-fault motorists whose negligent acts lead to motor vehicle crashes couldn’t escape liability for the accident by arguing the injured party wasn’t buckled up. Georgia is among 31 states that have laws prohibiting the admissibility of failure to wear a seat belt into evidence.
It’s also crucial to note that Georgia follows the comparative negligence rule, which means that motorists are assigned fault according to their respective behavior. This means that even if the other party was primarily at-fault for the crash, the injured party could still be found partly liable for the crash if they did something (aside from not wearing seat belts) that contributed to it.
Likewise, remember that not wearing a seat belt does not cause accidents, and wearing one does not prevent accidents. So, to help ensure that juries wouldn’t focus on an accident victim’s failure to wear a seat belt and instead concentrate on the party that caused the crash, the law makes failing to buckle up inadmissible in court.
Seek Legal Advice From a Skilled Cumming Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a car crash, you should not hesitate to hold the at-fault motorist liable for their negligent actions just because you were not wearing a seat belt. Reach out to Banks, Stubbs & McFarland online or call 770-887-1209 to arrange your free consultation with our Cumming personal injury attorney today.