Updated July 25, 2020
If you were injured in a car accident while your seat belt wasn’t buckled, courts will likely interpret it as negligent on your part. As such, the courts are unlikely to reward negligent behavior.
This law varies by state, but Indiana seat belt laws require that drivers and passengers of non-commercial vehicles have their seat belts fastened.
The basis for an injury claim after a car accident is based upon negligence (a driver’s failure to meet a standard level of care while on the road). The plaintiff would have to argue that the defendant both failed to meet their basic responsibilities as a driver and that this failure resulted in injury for the plaintiff.
However, failure to wear a seat belt can be argued as negligent behavior. If the defending party can establish that the plaintiff’s own negligence—in this case, not wearing a seat belt—contributed to the injuries, then they will be held responsible in court.
Even if it is proven that the defending driver’s negligence caused the accident, details regarding the plaintiff’s seat belt can affect the case. Some judges may choose to split the fault 50/50, where the defense would pay for 50 percent of the damage caused.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of serious car accident-related injuries by about 50 percent. Further, more than half of drivers aged 13–44 who died in an accident in 2016 were not wearing seat belts.
So statistically, the answer is yes: wearing a seat belt can prevent injuries sustained in a car accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car crash, you are urged to contact an Indianapolis car accident lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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