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Not Wearing a Seatbelt Can Cost More Than You Realize
It’s no secret that Florida has a mandatory seatbelt law. Per Florida law, anyone sitting in the front seat of a passenger vehicle is required to wear a seatbelt. In addition, anyone under the age of 18, regardless of where they are sitting, is required to wear a seatbelt or be in a child restraint system. Despite the law, many motorists choose to drive without wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, many of these people don’t realize that not wearing a seatbelt can damage or possibly ruin their claim, if they’re injured in an accident.
It has been proven statistically, many times over, that not wearing a seatbelt increases the chance for injury in an auto accident. Auto insurance companies know this. They are also in an endless pursuit of limiting their liability to injured victims.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law
Florida is considered a comparative negligence state. Under Florida’s comparative negligence law, each party is held accountable for their percentage of fault in an auto accident. This includes the resulting injuries. In layman’s terms, if you contribute to the accident itself or the injuries involved, even if you’re not at-fault for the accident, you can be held responsible for your portion of the resulting damages. Again, this includes costs associated with the resulting injuries.
Auto Accidents and the Seatbelt Defense
Auto insurance carriers have seized upon Florida’s seat belt law and comparative negligence law to successfully limit or outright deny auto accident claims. Insurance companies use these two laws to point the finger back at the injured victim. This tactic is known as the “seatbelt defense”. The argument by the insurance companies is always the same. If the victim had been wearing their seatbelt, they wouldn’t have been injured or the injuries wouldn’t have been as severe.
Florida courts and juries have repeatedly sided with the insurance companies and their use of the “seatbelt defense”. If you are injured in an auto accident and there is evidence that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, there’s a good chance the insurance companies involved will use the “seatbelt defense” to hold you responsible for a portion or all of your injury expenses even if you weren’t the at-fault party in the accident.
Our law firm has represented countless auto accident victims. Auto accident related medical expenses can be very costly. In too many cases, even with maximum compensation, the medical expenses associated with an auto accident create a severe financial hardship for the victim and their family. Failing to wear your seatbelt is both a physical and financial risk. Protect yourself and your family, BUCKLE UP!