Can You Seek Compensation After a Car Accident if You Weren’t Wearing a Seatbelt in Florida?
Would you be eligible to seek compensation if you were injured in an auto accident but were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision? Does the fact that you failed to buckle up prevent you from recovering damages in Florida?
Your Failure to Wear a Seatbelt Does NOT Preclude Recovery in Florida
While it is true that you could have reduced the risk of injury and mitigated damages had you worn a seatbelt at the time of the car accident, you may still be able to seek compensation for your injury even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
In other words, Florida law does not preclude recovery simply because a victim failed to wear a seatbelt. However, you might still face legal challenges and obstacles when trying to recover damages after a car crash.
Consult with a Miami car accident attorney at Pita Weber Del Prado to find out how your failure to wear a seatbelt might impact your settlement award in Florida.
Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence and Seatbelts
Your failure to buckle up at the time of the crash could impact the amount of your recoverable damages. This is because Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under the Florida Statutes Section 768.81, a victim’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of their fault.
If you are deemed 40% liable for your injuries simply because you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an auto accident, your total compensation will be reduced by 40%. For example, if your total damages are $300,000, you will be entitled to recover only $180,000.
In Florida, the doctrine of pure comparative negligence does not preclude recovery even if you are deemed 99% at fault for your personal injury.
You Can Be Injured in a Car Accident Despite Wearing a Seatbelt
Unfortunately, wearing a seatbelt does not prevent all types of injuries, though it does minimize the risk of serious injuries and death. The occurrence and severity of car accident injuries depend on:
- The speed of the vehicles;
- The type of vehicle (older vehicles offer less protection);
- The type of the crash; and
- Where the impact occurred.
Automobile occupants are likely to sustain injuries in the following types of car accidents despite wearing a seatbelt:
- Head-on collision. Frontal impacts, or head-on crashes, often result in broken legs, hips, and other injuries to lower extremities. Also, drivers and passengers are likely to suffer head injuries due to hitting the dashboard or windshield.
- Rear-end crash. Back impact crashes are likely to lead to spinal cord injuries and back injuries, while the use of seatbelts is unlikely to prevent this type of injury.
- Side-impact collision. Seatbelts may not be effective in preventing head and back injuries that occur as a result of side-impact crashes.
- Rollover accident. When a car tips over onto its side or roof, occupants can be thrown inside the vehicle or even ejected from the vehicle. While being buckled up may not prevent injury in rollover accidents, it does reduce the severity of injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident but were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, consult with our Miami personal injury lawyer before filing a claim to recover damages. Contact Pita Weber Del Prado to determine whether the fact that you failed to wear a seatbelt could impact your ability to seek compensation. Call at 305-670-2889 for a case evaluation.