Driving without a seatbelt is very dangerous and is illegal in Florida. Nobody’s perfect, however, and sometimes we don’t do the right thing in all circumstances. If you were injured in a car accident and you were not wearing your seatbelt, you may be concerned that you have no right to receive compensation for your injuries. All hope is not lost, however.
Personal Injury Protection
If you have your own car insurance, then your personal injury protection will cover some of your medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was at fault in the accident. The fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt will not factor into the calculation. That is why it is called no-fault insurance.
You still have the right to pursue a claim against an at-fault driver even if you were not wearing your seatbelt when the accident occurred. The insurance company of the at-fault driver may try to assert that your injuries are more severe than they would have been if you had been wearing your seatbelt. This seatbelt defense should not preclude you from recovering damages. It may only affect the amount of damages to which you are entitled.
Florida is a “pure” comparative negligence state, meaning that your own negligence doesn’t act as a complete bar to recovery for your damages, even if you were partially responsible for your injuries. Your failure to wear a seatbelt may, however, affect the amount of compensation you can recover based on the degree of fault you have for your injuries.
For example, at trial, a jury may determine that you sustained $50,000 in damages due to injuries sustained in a car accident. The at-fault driver was speeding and ran a red light, so the jury determines that they are 80% at fault for the accident. Because you were not wearing your seatbelt, the jury makes the determination that you were 20% at fault for your own injuries. This means that you would be able to recover $40,000 from the at-fault driver as the amount of compensation is reduced by the percentage of your fault.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you want an experienced car accident attorney on your side. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping Florida car accident victims for over 20 years. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.