Can You Win A Car Accident Claim If You Didn’t Wear A Seat Belt?

There are thousands of collisions in New York each year, with the most serious ones leading to emergency care visits, lifelong injuries, and even death. Despite these alarming stats, some drivers find it hard to imagine a situation like that would ever happen to them. This attitude leads to complacency behind the wheel, including forgetting to buckle up while driving.

If you get into an accident and the defendant’s insurance company finds out you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, your case gets much more complicated. However, you still have a chance to recover some damages with the help of a professional attorney.

Consequences Of Not Wearing A Seatbelt

Aside from getting a reduced payout when you file a claim, not wearing a seatbelt leaves you at risk for long-term injuries and damages you may never recover from, including:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of fetus
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death

While you can’t stop an accident from happening in some cases, forgetting to buckle up can exacerbate it and lead to further harm.

New York’s Seat Belt Law

Since 2020, New York has required all passengers to wear a seat belt regardless of where they sit. If a law enforcement officer catches you, you can face fines and other penalties, including the following: 

  • A $50 fine to the driver for every passenger that refuses to buckle up
  • For drivers under 16, a $25 to $100 fine and three points on their driver’s license when they fail to wear a seat belt

By following New York’s seat belt law, you can help reduce the chance of a fatal injury by 45%. Always buckle up to avoid fines and stay safe on the road.

What Is The Seatbelt Defense Law?

Many states, including New York, let the other party use the “seatbelt defense” law when you file your car accident claim. While the details of the law can vary by state, a “seatbelt defense” is a way for insurance companies to reduce the total compensation paid out based on the idea that those damages wouldn’t have happened in the first place had the plaintiff worn a seat belt.

If a defendant’s attorney uses a seatbelt defense provision, the insurance company analyzes your injuries to determine if wearing a seatbelt could have prevented them. The company will then greatly reduce your final payout, even if the other driver was mostly at fault for what happened.

Our Professional Lawyers Are Here To Help

A car accident can happen at any time without prior warning. For this reason, wearing a seat belt can save your life and minimize damage. Buckling up will also ensure that you’ll receive maximum compensation when you file your claim.

However, even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you may still be eligible for some compensation based on the accident’s details. One of our motor vehicle accident attorneys will review your case and help you navigate your claim while you recover from your injuries. Please contact us using our online form or call us at (866) 576-0484 to schedule your free consultation today.