Will My Car Accident Claim Be Impacted if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt?June 22, 2023
The short answer is yes. You can still sue for damages after a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, but if you are found to have violated Florida seatbelt regulations, the damages you can claim might be significantly limited. However, this should not discourage you from seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Florida Seat Belt Regulations
Seatbelts have been required by federal law since 1968 because they increase the likelihood of surviving a car accident by up to 60%.
Every year, between May and November, Florida Highway Patrol participates in America’s national Click It or Ticket campaign. During this time, over 600 police departments across the country oversee waves of controlled enforcement of seatbelt regulations.
Florida law requires that all drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, with a few exceptions:
- An individual has a certification from a medical professional that they have a medical condition that causes wearing a seatbelt to be dangerous for them. The individual must keep a copy of this certification in the vehicle.
- A newspaper delivery employee, during their shift.
- Passengers of school buses that were purchased before December 31, 2000.
- Individuals operating farm equipment.
- Individuals operating trucks with a net weight exceeding 26,000 pounds.
- People riding a bus are used for paid transportation.
Children between 4-5 years old may only be transported without a booster seat (and while wearing a seatbelt) if the driver is not a member of the child’s immediate family, and the child is being transported in an emergency, or as a favor to the family.
How Does a Seatbelt Infraction Affect Your Case?
You can still file a lawsuit if you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, regardless of whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt.
You may receive tickets or fines from law enforcement arriving at the scene of your accident if you are found to be without your seatbelt.
Additionally, you won’t be able to claim damages for all your injuries. The court and involved insurance companies will consider your injuries and postulate, which may be avoided if you wear your seatbelt. You cannot receive compensation for any injuries they conclude may have been avoided by using your seatbelt.
Unfortunately, making a small mistake, or a flippant choice, can cost you a lot. Without an experienced car accident attorney’s advice, you may be taken advantage of by the court system and the defendant.
Finding the Right Car Accident Attorney for Your Claim
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, but someone wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, don’t be discouraged. You can and should seek compensation for your injuries. With the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you can still recover the damages you owe.