Car accidents are unfortunate events that can lead to physical injuries, property damage, and significant financial consequences. If you’ve been involved in a collision, you may wonder whether not wearing your seatbelt could negatively impact your potential car accident claim.
The short answer is yes. If you weren’t wearing a seatbelt during your accident, your claim may be affected, and insurance companies will try to argue that you are entitled to less compensation for your injuries. However, even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt during an accident, you are still entitled to fair compensation for your damages. At Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers, our team of professionals stands ready to assist you through your claim to help you heal and get the compensation you deserve.
What does Florida law say?
For the past 50 years, Florida had been considered a “pure comparative negligence” state. Under this legal doctrine, damages were awarded in proportion to each party’s share of the blame for the accident. This meant, even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you could still recover from the other responsible party or their insurance company.
However, things changed in Florida on March 24, 2023, when Florida Statutes §768.81 was amended to make Florida a “modified comparative negligence” state. Subsection 6 of this statute provides that any party found to be greater than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries will not be allowed to recover damages. In other words, if a jury finds that your failure to wear a seatbelt was more than 50% of the reason for your injuries, you would be legally barred from recovering compensation. On the other hand, if a jury found that your failure to wear a seatbelt contributed only 10% toward your injuries, then your eventual recovery would be reduced by 10%. The modified comparative negligence structure is brand new in Florida, but the professionals at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers are already assisting accident victims in understanding the new law.
Like most states, driving without your seatbelt is against the law in Florida. This means if you are a car accident victim and were not wearing your seatbelt, you have technically broken the law. But don’t be discouraged if you did not wear a seatbelt because you may still be entitled to recover money for your injuries. While your overall recovery may be reduced, hiring a skilled personal injury attorney can maximize your compensation after an accident.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident and have questions about who may be to blame or whether you can even file a claim if you were not wearing a seatbelt, contact the office of Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers to make sure that you are pursuing the correct party and asserting the proper legal claims.
What are the common injuries from not wearing a seatbelt?
If you don’t wear a seatbelt and are involved in an automobile accident, you will almost always suffer some injury. Seatbelts are designed to protect drivers and passengers from serious and even fatal injuries. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you are not tethered to your vehicle when it suddenly slows down in an accident, so your body may be thrown from the vehicle or slammed against the interior. As a result, some common injuries you may suffer in an accident without a seatbelt include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Neck or back fractures
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Facial injuries or scars
Car accident injuries are often much worse for drivers and passengers who don’t wear a seatbelt. Frankly, airbags are not enough to protect you in the event of a serious automobile accident. Plus, airbag systems are designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts to provide you with as much protection as possible.
Do seatbelts really work?
Seatbelts are one of the most effective safety devices for reducing injury and death as a result of any car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts have saved almost 375,000 lives since 1975. Drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are 30 times more likely to be ejected from their vehicle in the event of a crash.
Simply put, seatbelts are safe and effective. Seatbelts are designed and tested to ensure as much protection and safety for all vehicle occupants. Wearing a seatbelt could save your life, reduce the severity of accident-related injuries, and will also ensure that you can seek the maximum compensation available after a car accident.
Were you or a loved one injured in an accident?
The law offices of Brian D. Guralnick help Florida residents and tourists seek compensation and Demand More? for their injuries.
There is no good reason not to wear a seatbelt, so please buckle up! However, if you were involved in a car crash and were not wearing a seatbelt, please call the professionals at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers for a free case consultation. Our experienced legal team has helped hundreds of accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve following a catastrophic accident, even accident victims who weren’t wearing seatbelts.