If I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt in my car accident, can I still sue for damages? Even if a driver or passenger isn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of a crash, everyone still has legal rights. However, there are several things to note about car accident claims where you were not taking all the necessary legal precautions to protect yourself. Here is an answer to the question, can I claim if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?
How does the car insurance claim process work with an accident where I do not wear my seatbelt?
When someone else is at fault for your car accident, there are several ways to receive compensation for your injuries. The standard process begins with an insurance claim. After you file a claim with the other party’s car insurance company, representatives start the investigation process.
The investigation process attempts to uncover all the details of your accident and the resulting consequences. They will examine the events surrounding the accident and determine how much in damages to pay out. This will be dependent on the damage to your property, the extent of injuries you are suffering, and several other factors.
After conducting research, the insurance company’s claims adjuster will do one of two things. Either they will try to settle for a lesser amount than your damages, or they will deny your claim outright. It is at this time that you will know whether failure to wear a seatbelt is a major reason for the low settlement amount.
What are my options if I receive a lowball settlement offer or there is a denial of my claim?
After learning what the at-fault driver’s insurance company is willing to pay, you have two options. You can either negotiate yourself, which is never advisable, or you can find an attorney that can help you. Your attorney might negotiate on your behalf or decide to take the lawsuit to court.
However, you should know that in Florida, your failure to wear a seatbelt can minimize the amount you receive in damages because of the seat belt defense.
What is the seat belt defense and how does it work in Florida?
Florida is a comparative negligence state. If you are in an accident, you can only recover damages proportional to how much you are at fault. For this reason, your failure to wear a seatbelt can reduce the amount of money you receive from an auto insurance company, even if the accident was primarily the other driver’s fault.
For instance, you are in an accident where another driver runs a stop sign and hits your vehicle. You have medical bills, loss of income, and other damages. Altogether your damages total $30,000, which the other driver would normally be liable for.
However, it turns out that you were not wearing a seatbelt. As a result, the at-fault driver’s insurance company argues that you are partially liable for your injuries. Because of this, you should only recover $15,000 in damages.
Are there ever justifications for not wearing my seatbelt?
Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons why you would not be wearing your seatbelt when an accident happens. In addition, each state has a different seat belt law, and some do not accept the seat belt defense. Therefore, it is best to speak with an attorney who can help you win damages after researching the specific details in your unique situation.
That satisfies the question, “Can I claim if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?” but there are several reasons why you should bring forward your car accident claim, regardless of whether you were or were not wearing a seatbelt.
Do not miss your chance to recover damages for a car accident that you were not liable for. Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today to learn your legal options for bringing forward a lawsuit. Car accident damages that were due to another’s negligence means that you deserve compensation.
Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use the live chat feature to discuss your case now. We will provide you and your family with a no-obligation consultation for free. But do not wait until it is too late to file your lawsuit in Florida. Contact us today.
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