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Law Group, P.C.

The Physical and Legal Risks of Not Wearing a Seatbelt

January 27, 2022

The Physical and Legal Risks of Not Wearing a Seatbelt

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seatbelts reduce a person’s risk of suffering injuries or death by about half. Over 15,000 lives could be saved each year in the United States if the victims wore seatbelts. People who are not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. Failure to wear a seatbelt results in $70 billion in medical costs and lost work expenses every year.

It is crystal clear that seatbelts save lives. Specifically, seatbelts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives since 1975. Even though it has been illegal not to wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle for decades, some people continue to not buckle up while driving. Unfortunately, drivers who do not wear a seatbelt put themselves at risk of physical injuries or death. They also put themselves at legal risk, opening themselves to potential lawsuits. 

The Risks of Not Using a Seatbelt for Teenage Drivers

Teenagers are one group that is more likely to not be wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, teen drivers were more likely to buckle up than teen passengers in fatal car accidents. Only 35% of teen passengers wear seatbelts. Sadly, two out of every teenager involved in fatal crashes in which someone died were not wearing their seatbelts. Even though seatbelt use is improving among teenagers,  many teenagers continue not to wear seatbelts or to wear them improperly.

Personal Injury and Death Due to Not Wearing a Seatbelt

The physical risks of not wearing a seatbelt include death and serious injury. The fact of the matter is that seatbelts save lives. They reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45%. They reduce the risk of injury to light truck occupants by 60%. When a person wears his or her seatbelt, it can save them from being thrown out of the vehicle. Anytime a person is thrown out of the vehicle, there is a chance that he or she will die due to serious injuries. 

The collision with the pavement can cause deadly lacerations, traumatic head injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and other severe injuries. Airbags are designed to work with seatbelts, and when someone is not wearing a seatbelt, they can become seriously injured by the airbag itself. In other cases, the airbag will fail to protect them properly. Failure to wear a seatbelt puts you at risk of becoming more injured than you otherwise would have in a car accident.

Stress and Financial Costs Associated With Not Wearing a Seatbelt

Failure to wear a seatbelt can also cause you significant stress. When you are not wearing a seatbelt, it can put you at legal risk of facing liability. When car accidents result in serious injuries or death, they are always stressful and devastating for people involved. It is stressful for the driver and the passenger. It can also become stressful for your friends and family members, affecting many other people then yourself. Dealing with a lawsuit or Insurance claim can increase your stress, anxiety, and even cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

You are also putting yourself at legal risk when you do not wear a seatbelt. Besides paying the physical price of becoming injured or losing your own life or the lives of others, there are other Financial costs associated with not wearing a seatbelt. You will need to deal with expenses related to property damage, car damage, physical damage, and medical expenses. Even if you were not at fault for the car accident and you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, you will still have to deal with the process of obtaining compensation. 

When a person wears a seatbelt, the likelihood of having a severe injury with permanent consequences is less significant. If you have been involved in a car accident that involves bodily injury or fatality, the paperwork can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the best ways to gray fence these types of situations is to keep yourself safe, which starts with putting on her seatbelt every time you get into the vehicle. 

What if I Was Hurt in a Car Accident But Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

If you were injured in a car accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt, you may be concerned that you will not be able to obtain compensation. Whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney. If you were hurt in a car accident, you do have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. 

The insurance company or the defendant may try to claim that your damages should be reduced because you were not wearing a seatbelt. New York is a comparative fault state, meaning that your damages can be reduced if you were determined to have contributed to the accident. Failure to wear a seat belt does not cause car accidents, however. It is important that you work with an attorney who can negotiate for the best settlement offer possible while defending your rights. Typically your own insurance will cover some of your damages. If you have been seriously injured, you will need to pursue a claim with the other parties insurance company for the following types of damages:

  • Past and projected medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Future lost earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement

About Harrison Law Group, P.C.

The Harrison Law Group, P.C. is a well-known, and respected personal injury law firm who is exclusively dedicated to handing a wide range of personal injury cases which include but are not limited to motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, traumatic brain injuries, serious and catastrophic injuries, soft tissue injuries, construction accidents, and many other injury cases.

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