Wearing seatbelts is a common driving rule that applies everywhere. Seatbelts help to secure both the driver and the passengers in the event of a car accident. However, on many occasions, drivers fail to put on their seatbelts, increasing the chances of sustaining severe injuries if an accident occurs.
If a claimant files for compensation in a road accident, the insurance company will look at several things before paying the claim. One of the things the insurer will check is whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt when the accident occurred. Therefore, not wearing a seat belt will have a significant impact on your insurance claim.
A claimant can file a personal injury suit against a negligent driver in a car accident. However, to get maximum compensation for damages, you may require the expertise of a personal injury attorney.
What the Law Says about Seatbelts
Seatbelt laws are generally similar in almost every state. For example, according to section 316.614.4(a) of the Florida Status, operating a vehicle without both the driver and passenger wearing seatbelts is an offense. Tennessee also has a similar law for all vehicles on the highway as spelled out by section 55-9-603(a) of Tennessee Statute.
Because the Law mandates drivers and passengers to put on seat belts, not doing so will affect your insurance claim. The accident victim will still be entitled to compensation. However, the negligence on the part of the claimant to wear a seat belt will reduce the amount of compensation they will be entitled to.
If you were involved in an accident caused by negligence and sustained injuries, you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit for adequate compensation. However, if you are at fault for not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, you may lose a part of your benefit.
Car Insurance Claims Versus Personal injury Lawsuit
If the default driver responsible for your injury is insured, then there are ways you can get compensation for your losses due to the crash. They include; medical bills, lost income, damages, and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Car accident cases filed in court always start with the negligent driver’s insurance company. This type of filing is known as the “third party” claim. In third-party claims, the claim adjuster investigates to determine the one at fault and the nature of the injuries.
Sometimes, after the claim adjuster does this investigation, either the insurer denies the claim or the claimant is offered an unfair amount for settlement. If you cannot negotiate properly, you can talk to a personal injury lawyer to take it up from there.
Injuries that can Result from Not Wearing a Seatbelt
The purpose of designing seatbelts is to help keep both the driver and passengers safe. Injuries that can result from not wearing a seatbelt includes:
- Injuries on the head
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bruises and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
Though not all states accept the seat belt defense, you will best put on a seatbelt while driving. The reason is that not having a seatbelt on at the time of an accident will reduce your compensation claim. You can not win in this argument, but handing your issues over to an experienced personal injury lawyer will set you up on the right track.
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