Am I at Fault if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt in a Car Accident?
Contrary to popular belief, you can get compensated if you get injured in a car accident, even if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. However, your insurance company may use the seat belt defense to reduce your recoverable damages.
If you have been injured in a car accident but were not buckled up, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to help you pursue maximum compensation. Contact our Miami car accident attorneys at Pita Weber Del Prado to ensure that your insurance company does not undervalue your claim or deny coverage altogether.
Can You Seek Compensation if You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt?
The short answer is, “Yes, you can.” However, you need to understand that you may not be entitled to full compensation because Florida law requires all drivers and passengers in the front seat to buckle up when a motor vehicle is in motion (Fla. Stat. § 316.614).
You could seek compensation even if you were not wearing a seat belt as long as you can prove that the other party was negligent. While you can recover damages despite your failure to buckle up at the time of the crash, your compensation may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
Your Damages May Be Reduced in Proportion to Your Degree of Fault
Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means your compensation will be reduced if your negligence contributed to the accident.
Your insurance company may argue that you were negligent because you failed to buckle up at the time of your car accident, which caused your injuries to become worse than they could have been. As a result, you can receive less compensation than you could have if you wore a seat belt.
If the insurance company uses the seat belt defense, your settlement award will be reduced according to your degree of fault.
Contact a Miami Car Accident Attorney if You Failed to Buckle Up
If you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your car accident, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to help you maximize your compensation.
Example. Let’s say that you were injured in a car accident because another driver exceeded the posted speed limit. You were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your accident, which causes your injuries to become worse. Your insurance company determines that your failure to buckle up made your injury 10% worse than it could have been if you wore a seat belt. Thus, if your damages total $5,000, you can receive $4,500 because your compensation is reduced by 10%.
If an insurance company is trying to reduce your recoverable damages by using the seat belt defense, you should contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
Schedule a case review with our accomplished and dedicated attorneys at Pita Weber Del Prado. Call 305-670-2889 to talk about your case.