Wearing a seatbelt is required by law in Los Angeles, so you might believe you won’t be able to claim compensation if you weren’t wearing one at the time of the accident. However, this is not the case; not wearing a seatbelt can affect your claim but cannot bar you from recovering damages.
The insurance company for the defendant will try to employ the “seat belt defense” to minimize liability and lower the claim value. They would argue that the plaintiff would not have suffered such terrible injuries if worn a seat belt.
A qualified personal injury lawyer would argue that the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt had no bearing on the cause of the accident. Failure to use a seat belt may have exacerbated the plaintiff’s injuries, but it did not contribute to the accident’s causation. As a result, not wearing a seat belt cannot be deemed comparative negligence. Yerushalmi Law Firm’s skilled car accident lawyers are skillful at it and help you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
Laws On Wearing A Seatbelt In California
Under California’s Motor Vehicle Code 27315 VC cited as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the driver, and passengers of a moving vehicle on a highway should be properly restrained by a safety belt.
“Properly restrained by a safety belt” means that the lower (lap) component of the belt crosses the occupant’s hips or upper thighs, and the upper (shoulder) component of the belt, if present, crosses the occupant’s chest in front.
Children under the age of eight must be restrained in the rear seat of a vehicle in a car seat or booster seat. Unless the kid weighs more than 40 pounds or is more than 40 inches tall, children under the age of two must travel in a rear-facing car seat.
Effect Of Not Wearing A Seat Belt On Your Claim
Yes, seatbelt rules are explicit. And, if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, the insurance company representing the at-fault motorist will use that information to reduce the amount of compensation.
However, just because you were not wearing a seatbelt does not imply you will not be eligible to get compensated. Because of the comparative negligence law in California, you may still be able to recover damages with the lowered amount.
If the at-fault driver claims that your failure to wear a seatbelt renders you at least partially to blame for your car accident injuries, trying to counter that argument on your own may not be the best tactic. Particularly if your injuries are severe and the other side is preparing for a fight. Putting your claim in the hands of a skilled car accident lawyer improves your chances of getting a better settlement. An experienced attorney will assess the situation and your options, which may include filing a personal injury claim in court.
Yerushalmi Law Firm’s competent car accident attorneys will negotiate for you the best settlement and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us for a free consultation at (310) 777-7717