Can You Sue After a Car Crash If You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt?Sep 21, 2020 Car Accidents Legal Blog Ohio Personal Injury
Federal law did not require seat belts in cars until 1968. Since then, seat belts have become a standard safety feature in all types of personal vehicles. In fact, they are considered so important that many states have made not wearing a seat belt an offense.
Unfortunately, not everyone listens and people are hurt every day because they didn’t wear their seat belts. But is this negligence on their part or does the fault always rest with the person who caused the wreck.
We’ll review what happened, explain your options, and tell you what you can expect.
Ohio Seat Belt Laws
In Ohio, every driver, front-seat passenger, and child between eight and 15 must wear seat belts. In addition, every child under eight must ride in an appropriate child safety seat.
Who is At-Fault if You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt?
After being injured in a car accident you may wonder, “Can I file a lawsuit after a car crash if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt?”
If you do not wear your seat belt, whether or not it is required by law, you run the risk of suffering more serious injuries than you would have while wearing it. However, not wearing your seat belt does not automatically make you fully responsible for your injuries.
The person who caused the collision is also at fault. The question becomes how much are both of you responsible for the harm you suffered.
You Can Still File a Lawsuit if You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt
If another driver caused a collision and you were hurt, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. Whether or not you can and should depend on if you have evidence of the other driver’s negligence.
Not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident does not bar you from filing a lawsuit. However, it can impact whether or not you receive compensation and how much.
If you have documentation, testimony, and other evidence that the other driver was careless or reckless while behind the wheel, then you should speak with a car accident attorney about filing a lawsuit.
Can Not Wearing a Seat Belt be Considered Negligent?
Once you file a lawsuit claiming the other driver was at fault for your injuries, the driver may respond by saying that you also hold responsibility because you chose not to wear a seat belt. This is a comparative negligence claim, and it may potentially reduce your recovery or bar you from receiving any compensation.
Under Ohio law, as long as you are not more responsible than the other negligent driver, then you may still recover an award. However, the amount of compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
If the court finds you are more than 50% responsible, then you will be denied compensation altogether.
In situations where you were not wearing a seat belt, the other driver will try and prove you were more responsible for your injuries than they were because you failed to protect yourself. They will try to say that not being buckled up was a greater factor than their colliding with your vehicle. It is up to your attorney to disprove this assertion.
Let Kisling, Nestico & Redick Help You
Whether or not your lack of a seat belt is more responsible for your injuries than the other driver’s actions depends on a number of factors. Our attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick will aggressively respond to any claim of comparative negligence.
We will gather all the evidence we can of the other driver’s negligence, including through the use of expert witnesses, and provide evidence of your minimal contribution to your own injuries. Our goal will always be to obtain you the maximum settlement for your damages.