Recovering Damages If You Weren’t Wearing A Seatbelt
While you have the right to make a decision regarding whether or not you want to wear a seat belt in your vehicle, it is important to know that legally, seat belts are required in the state of Pennsylvania. If you make the decision not to wear a seatbelt and are in an accident, you will still be able to receive compensation for your injuries and losses, however, it is possible that you will not receive as much as you would if you had been wearing your seatbelt. Learn more about your legal rights and seatbelts in accidents bellow.
Seatbelts in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania requires that all drivers and passengers that are 18 years and older wear a seatbelt when in the front seat of a vehicle. If you are pulled over by a police officer for violating a law, you will receive a second ticket if either you or your front seat passenger is not wearing a seatbelt. It is important to know that there are additional considerations regarding child passenger safety laws that must be followed to ensure the safety of children.
Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania follows comparative negligence law, which means that even if a person is partially liable for their accident they will be allowed to receive compensation for their injuries and losses. Ultimately, an insurance company or court will make a decision regarding how much the victim was responsible for their own injuries, and that percentage will be deducted from the total amount of compensation awarded. In most cases, a court will use a reasonable person standard to attempt to determine the negligence of all parties. According to the law, if a person makes the decision to refuse to wear seatbelts, this is contrary to the way in which a reasonable person would behave. As a result, if you are in an accident and are not wearing a seatbelt, you can be determined to be negligent in-part for your own injuries. Additionally, a court may say that your injuries are actually more severe as a result of your failure to wear seatbelts.
Seat Belt Defense
It is important to note that the negligent driver in the car accident will attempt to use a seatbelt defense against a victim who willingly failed to wear a seatbelt. In these cases, the negligent party will attempt to minimize the amount of compensation that they owe you arguing that your injuries would have been less serious if you had worn a seatbelt at the time of the accident. In fact, this defense can also be used to reduce the amount of compensation paid for lost wages, or even pain and suffering.
Contact Us today for Professional Help
If another person’s negligence caused you to have injuries and losses related to a car accident, never allow the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt discourage you from contacting an experienced attorney to help you with your case. Contact our personal injury attorneys at O’Donnell Law Offices at 570-821-5717 who can help you understand your legal rights. We proudly serve clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton, and Pittston.