Florida is among the top five most car-accident-prone states in the country. In 2019 alone, the Sunshine State logged more than 400,000 car accidents. Thousands of these car accidents are also fatal and have caused debilitating injuries for more than 3,000 motorists.
In other words, you are already at risk just by driving on the roads of Florida. When you get in a car crash, you can make a Florida car accident claim if the other driver is liable.
One of the things the investigation will look at is the extent to which both parties are liable. One factor that can determine this is whether or not the drivers were driving safely. One of the questions you might be asked is whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt.
This may not be a problem if you always buckle up before driving. However, what if you were not wearing your seatbelt? Will forgetting to wear your seatbelt have a bearing on your car accident claim?
The answer is both yes and no. You will still be able to make a car accident claim, but it can affect your compensation.
Do you want to learn more? Read on to find out more about how not buckling up can affect your claim.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt Does Not Affect Whether or Not You Can Claim Damages
Florida has seat belt laws. Anyone found in violation of these laws will receive a ticket.
Wearing a seatbelt is a practice that ensures driver safety. The practice is not intended for the safety of other motorists or people. Even in a crash, failure to fasten the seat belt is not a breach of the state’s Duty of Care Law.
Chapter 316.614 (10) of the Florida Statutes clarifies the liability associated with violating the seatbelt law. According to this chapter of the Florida Statutes for motor vehicle safety, not wearing a seatbelt is not an act of negligence. For this reason, any driver not wearing a seatbelt is still within the legal right to file a claim for damages.
Granted that the other party’s liability has been proven, you and your car accident lawyer can still make a claim. More importantly, you can still file a claim regardless of whether or not you were buckled up during the time of the incident.
A Look into the Comparative Negligence Law
According to the Comparative Negligence Law, a person’s injuries or property damages can be caused by the person and another who is liable for the incident. To understand Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law in practice, imagine the following scenario:
John was driving without his seatbelt. Suddenly, a vehicle rams into the front of his car, throwing him towards the windshield. As a result, John sustains severe injuries to the face, neck, and shoulder — preventable with a seatbelt.
John attempts to sue the other driver for damages. The amount he wanted as compensation was $10,000. However, since part of the reason for John’s injuries was not wearing a seatbelt, he is liable to an extent. Thus, the amount of compensation can be reduced owing to his role in his injuries.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt Can Affect How Much Compensation You Can Collect
Although you can still file a claim, not wearing your seatbelt will affect it in one place — damages.
If you were not wearing your seatbelt during the time of the incident, the amount of compensation you can collect would be less than if you were wearing one. The reduction in damages is legitimized and codified in Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law.
In the eyes of the state, any injury you sustained that could have been prevented by wearing a seatbelt is your fault. This reduces the liability of the other driver, thereby lowering the amount of compensation he or she would have to pay.
Proving Liability to Maximize the Amount You Can Collect in Your Car Accident Claim
With the amount of possible compensation reduced, you need to maximize your collective compensation. The only way to do this is by proving the other person’s liability.
Proving liability can ensure that while you cannot collect the full amount, you walk away with something. Doing this in Florida can be an uphill battle. To do this successfully, you will need help.
Seek Legal Assistance from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
Determining liability requires skillful handling of evidence and witness testimonies. Equally difficult is proving the necessity for compensating you. Nonetheless, a Daytona Beach experienced car accident lawyer, like those at Zimmet and Zimmet, can help you immensely with your car accident claim.
Have you been in a car accident not wearing your seatbelt? Maximize the compensation you can collect by calling us for your car accident claim in Florida.