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Seat Belt Defense

Advice from Personal Injury Attorney, Ben Shell.

As most of us know, in Florida there is a law that requires all drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt. What a lot of people don’t know is how the failure to wear a seat belt could affect your personal injury claim if you have been a victim of an automobile accident.

Essentially, if you were involved in an accident and were not wearing your seat belt, the at-fault driver can claim a seat belt defense. To better explain this, I would like you to imagine a hypothetical scenario. Let’s imagine you were stopped at a stop sign and were not wearing your seat belt. Then imagine you get rear-ended with enough force that your head hits the steering wheel, resulting in you breaking your eye socket. The at-fault driver can argue that your head would not have hit the steering wheel if you were wearing your seat belt, and, therefore, you never would have suffered a broken eye socket.

Without taking into consideration the safety implications of failing to wear a seat belt, there are also significant legal consequences which could potentially affect your claim. One of these potential consequences is called the seat belt defense.

This evidence will then get presented to a jury which will be responsible for determining what percentage of the injuries was caused because you failed to wear your seat belt. If the jury finds you to be 80% responsible for your injuries, you will only receive 20% of your just compensation from the at fault driver. This means if you had $100,000 in medical bills, you will only be able to recover $20,000. Seat belts save lives. Please make sure you and your passengers wear one.