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Does Not Wearing a Safety Belt Hurt Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Does Not Wearing a Safety Belt Hurt Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?Buckling up while in a car is not only the law but potentially a life-saving practice. According to the National Highway Travel Safety Administration, 47 percent of the people who died in vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing a safety belt. Not wearing a safety belt or wearing it improperly puts you at risk of being thrown out of the vehicle during a crash or hitting your head inside the vehicle. In Illinois, all drivers and passengers age 8 and older are required to wear a safety belt, with a violation being a $25 fine. There is a separate car seat requirement for passengers younger than 8. Can you file a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured in an accident while not wearing a safety belt? Illinois law does not allow a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit to use the plaintiff’s lack of a safety belt as evidence that the plaintiff was negligent.

Seatbelt Defense

Illinois uses comparative fault to determine how much compensation a plaintiff will receive in a personal injury lawsuit. If the plaintiff was liable in part for the accident, their award in a lawsuit will be reduced. The percentage they receive from the award they request in the lawsuit will be equal to the percentage of fault that the defendant shared for the accident. If the plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, they will receive nothing.

In some states, the defendant in a personal injury case is allowed to argue that the plaintiff’s negligence in not wearing a safety belt was partially responsible for their injuries. However, Illinois is one of the states that does not allow the “seatbelt defense.” Illinois’ law requiring safety belts includes a section stating that a violation of the law is not evidence of negligence and cannot limit someone’s ability to receive:

  • Compensation from an insurer covering the accident
  • Damages from a party who is liable for the accident

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

You should not let a safety belt violation dissuade you from filing an injury claim with an auto insurer or filing a lawsuit against another driver. However, you still must prove that the defendant was responsible for the accident that caused your injury. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will gather evidence that proves the defendant’s liability and the extent of your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K12-603.1.htm

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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