What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages? 

All drivers and passengers in California are required to wear a seatbelt when operating their vehicles. So when an accident happens, and you are not wearing a seatbelt, you might worry that you will face consequences when you file a personal injury claim or be denied compensation. You can read more here about how an attorney can help you, but here is some general, helpful information if you were in an accident while not wearing a seatbelt.

seat belt at the time of my accident

Comparative Negligence Laws

California follows a comparative negligence system regarding automobile accidents, which means that each driver will be evaluated to determine how much fault they share for causing the accident. This means that even if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, you might still be able to recover some compensation for your injuries if someone else was responsible for your accident. 

If another driver’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness caused the accident that led to your injuries, then they can still be held liable for your damages. Therefore, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, you should still file a personal injury claim. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, damaged car, and other expenses.

Some of the most common causes of car accidents are distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and failure to adapt to wet weather conditions. If one of the drivers were breaking a law at the time of the accident, such as texting while driving, then they would be assigned a higher percentage of fault for causing the accident. 

Seat Belt Defense

The insurance company’s goal is to pay less than you are asking for so that they save themselves money. The insurance company for the at-fault driver may argue that because you were not wearing a seatbelt, you suffered more severe injuries than if you had worn a seatbelt in accordance with the law. They will argue that you deserve less than you demand for your damages. They will also point out that the other driver is not responsible for your choice not to wear a seatbelt. 

This is why it is so important to hire an Orange County car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney who has stood up to different insurance companies for various clients knows what legal strategies to use in your case. Your attorney will stand up for you so that the insurance company pays you the amount that you deserve for your damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Other expenses related to your accident

Hire An Attorney

If you have any questions or concerns about your car accident, you should talk to a personal injury attorney immediately. Almost all personal injury attorneys provide free case evaluations to potential new clients. You can take advantage of this opportunity by scheduling a free initial consultation with an attorney who can discuss your case and concerns. They will listen, provide legal guidance, and advise you on the next steps. 

When it comes to car accidents where one driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, you really need to get individualized help rather than generic information. To get the most out of your consultation, you should bring:

  • Your medical records
  • Photos and videos from the scene of the accident
  • The police report
  • Contact information for the other driver
  • Contact information for any witnesses
  • Receipts or proof of car repairs 

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