If you are not wearing a seat-belt, your injuries will likely be more serious if you are involved in a car wreck. Many people believe they will be barred from filing a personal injury claim against the other driver if they are not wearing a seat-belt. Although this is not the case, failure to wear a seat-belt may have an impact.
This is not necessarily the case. Although it’s the law in Georgia to wear a seat belt and you may receive a traffic citation from the police, whether you can claim or not depends on negligence and who caused the accident.
If you were a victim of negligence, the amount you will be able to receive will depend on the facts of the case.
Your Georgia auto accident claim will depend on two factors – negligence and causation. It’s not enough to show the other driver committed a negligent act like running a red light or improperly changing lanes. You must show that driver’s actions led to your injuries.
If you contributed to your injuries, it’s not a bar to a claim in Georgia. The state has a comparative negligence law, which allows you to collect damages even if you were only partially negligent as long as the defendant was more than 50 percent responsible.
If you were not wearing a seat-belt, the other party’s lawyers may try to claim you exacerbated your injuries by failing to protect yourself. The insurer may consider these details and seek to limit a settlement proposal or eliminate a settlement completely. However, if you were 49 percent or less at fault, you should be able to recover damages in Georgia.
In some states, wearing a seat-belt or otherwise will have no impact on your claim. However, in Georgia, you won’t receive the full amount of compensation your injuries merit if you have contributed to the injuries in any way.
The final judgment amount depends on what degree the courts feel you contributed to your injures. For example, if you were not wearing a seat-belt and were ejected from the car, you may have ended up with more serious injuries than if you were restrained. The amount you recover may be reduced accordingly.
There is plenty of evidence that seat-belts save lives. However, Georgia has come under fire because the state lacks seat-belt laws for passengers in back seats.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported rear seat passengers are a staggering three times more likely to lose their lives a crash if they aren’t buckled up.
However, Georgia is one of more than 20 states in which adults are not required to wear a seat-belt in the back seat
A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) explored the safety implications of not buckling up in the back seat.
In 2013, just 55 percent of rear seat passengers aged 8 and older who were killed in Georgia were wearing their seat belt, compared with 70 percent in the front seat.
If you are on the roads of Georgia, you should always buckle up. It could save your life if you are in a serious accident. If you were hurt in an auto crash, call our Atlanta area personal injury lawyers at (404) 913-1529.