If your vehicle was struck by another vehicle and you suffered injuries, you are entitled to claim compensation for your financial losses and pain and suffering. But what if you weren’t wearing a seat belt? Do I have a case if I didn’t wear a seatbelt? Will your insurance company reject your claim? Will the other driver’s insurance company choose to fight rather than pay fair compensation?
In many, if not all such cases, motor vehicle accident victims retain the ability to claim compensation even when they weren’t wearing seat belts. That said, these types of cases could involve complex factual and legal issues. You should consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys
At Gold, Albanese & Barletti L.L.C., we have years of experience representing victims of car accidents, truck accidents, and other acts of negligence. Our attorneys are highly knowledgeable in the law, proactive when preparing cases, and determined to obtain the best possible result for every client. When representing you, we will seek full compensation for all losses, including medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Case?
In cases involving accident victims who weren’t wearing seat belts, it is important to carefully examine the circumstances of the accident and the type of injury or injuries that the victim suffered. Usually, the standard defense in these cases is that the injuries would not have occurred if the victim had been wearing a seat belt.
Our lawyers counter these arguments with the testimony of nationally recognized experts in auto injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, they may be able to testify that had you been wearing a seat belt:
- The injuries still would have occurred, or
- The injuries would not have been as severe as they were, though you still would have suffered injuries.
In either case, you would still be eligible for compensation. Our goal when representing you will be to obtain maximum compensation for you.
The Seat Belt Defense in New Jersey
The seat belt defense theory is one that comes up frequently in vehicle accident cases and can throw a wrench into a case. It is a relatively simple concept. If an accident occurs and the person who was hit should have been wearing a seatbelt, but wasn’t, the party responsible for the accident can use that as a defense to reduce the amount of liability they have. This usually means that the injured party will get less from damages than they would if they had been wearing a seatbelt.
The seat belt defense is connected to tort laws, which are legal claims that arise when an injury occurred as the result of another person or entity’s negligence or malfeasance. The two tort theories that are associated with seat belt defense are:
- Comparative negligence – Under this theory, the liability of both parties is compared and any award the plaintiff would receive is reduced by whatever degree they were responsible for the injuries.
- Failure to mitigate damages – States may also reduce damages awards when the injured party fails to take reasonable actions to limit the extent of their injury. Failure to mitigate damages usually refers to the injured party’s actions after the accident, but some states interpret the driver’s failure to wear a seatbelt as a failure to mitigate damage that can occur before the incident.
Not all states permit the use of the seat belt defense, but New Jersey is one of the states that do.
Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Today
Gold, Albanese & Barletti L.L.C., is a full-service personal injury law firm dedicated to helping accident victims obtain full compensation for their financial losses and pain and suffering. We will handle all aspects of your case, including all dealings with insurance companies. We want to help you get the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.