If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering whether or not your failure to wear your seat belt will affect your chances of winning your auto accident case. At Payer Law Group, we regularly meet with clients in our Orlando office who are in exactly this situation, which is why we’ll now take a closer look at Florida’s seat belt law and how it may affect your auto accident claim.
A Brief Overview of Florida’s Seat Belt Law
Like most other states, Florida law requires that the driver and any passengers in the front seat of a vehicle wear their seat belts at all times. On the other hand, there is no seat belt law for any passengers riding in the back seat. Nonetheless, whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt when the accident occurred can still have a major impact on your auto accident case—no matter whether you were sitting in the front or back seat of the vehicle.
The Impact of Seat Belts on an Auto Accident Claim
Florida is one of many states that use the principle of comparative negligence when determining fault in an auto accident. Under this principle, the judge or jury will take into account the negligence of all parties when determining fault. This means that a jury could find that your failure to wear your seat belt helped contribute to the extent of the injuries you suffered in the accident, and as a result, may determine that you were at least partly liable for your injuries. This is true even if the accident was entirely the other driver’s fault, as a jury could reasonably determine that your injuries would not have been as severe had you been wearing your seat belt.
If the jury does determine that your injuries were at least partially caused by your failure to wear your seat belt, this fact will be taken into account when determining your total damage settlement. In this case, the fact that you were at least partially responsible for the extent of your injuries means that you will likely receive a much lower damage award that you would have possibly received had you been wearing your seat belt. This is true no matter whether you were sitting in the front seat or the back seat.
Even though passengers in the back seat of a vehicle are not technically required by law to wear a seat belt, the fact remains that your failure to wear your seat belt likely contributed to your injuries. Under the law of comparative negligence, this essentially means that you can be found partially liable for your injuries even if the accident was not your fault.
Consulting with an Auto Accident Attorney Orlando
If you were in an accident, an auto accident attorney Orlando can potentially help you to fight against the charge of comparative negligence. Although the defense will likely try to show that your failure to wear your seat belt contributed to your injuries, your attorney may still be able to argue that you would have suffered the same degree of injury even if you were wearing your seat belt.
At Payer Law Group, our auto accident attorney Orlando services have successfully helped people just like you receive compensation for their injuries even in cases where they weren’t wearing their seat belt. The fact that you weren’t wearing your seat belt may have an impact on the total damage award that you are entitled to, but it generally won’t stop you from receiving compensation for your injuries. Therefore, if you were injured in a car accident, it is essential that you seek help from an experienced lawyer to give yourself the best chance of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve. Contact our law group today.