Seat belts are essential in keeping you safe while you are on the road, and not wearing one can negatively impact your chances of recovery if you are involved in a car accident. It’s important to contact a car accident lawyer who can help you understand Florida’s seat belt laws and how not wearing a seat belt can potentially ruin your car accident recovery.
Understanding Florida Seat Belt Laws
According to Florida’s safety belt law, all drivers and front-seat passengers over 18 must wear safety belts when driving or riding in cars, trucks, vans, or other motor vehicles. A seat belt is not required for back-seat passengers over the age of 18. It is highly recommended that all occupants in any vehicle wear a seat belt at all times.
In addition, children aged five or younger must be properly secured in a federally approved child restraint device. For those under three, this device must be either an integrated child seat or a separate carrier, and for children between the ages of four and five, this can be an integrated child seat, a separate carrier, or a child booster seat.
How Not Wearing a Seat Belt Can Impact Your Recovery
If you’re not wearing a seat belt when you’re in a vehicle accident, it may negatively impact the amount of compensation you recover for a personal injury claim. It is likely that insurance will cover you; however, it may try to reduce the amount your receive in damages.
In Florida, it’s illegal for any passenger in the front seat of a moving vehicle to ride without a seat belt. However, not wearing a seat belt is not considered negligence. The crash victim didn’t cause the accident because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. However, the insurance company will likely try to prove that your injuries were more severe because you chose not to wear one.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means, you can still receive compensation, even if you contributed to the accident in some way—whether you were wearing your seat belt or not. Your compensation will be determined by your share of “fault” in the accident. But the at-fault party will likely try to minimize your payout by proving that your injuries resulted from not wearing a seat belt.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you were involved in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, but you were not wearing your seat belt at the time, you might still be eligible for compensation. However, without the help of an attorney, it may not be easy to prove your case and recover damages. An attorney can help build your case and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses, even if you were not wearing your safety belt at the time of the crash. They will also help protect your rights through every step of the claims process should an insurance company attempt to deny liability or minimize damages because you chose not to buckle up.
If you were not wearing a seat belt and have been injured in a car accident, contact Browning Law today for help. There are never any legal fees unless we win your case. To schedule an appointment, fill out our online contact form, or call us at 850-344-1736.