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Will My Not Wearing a Seatbelt Affect My PI Case?

Posted on: December 8, 2016

PI case

When an automobile accident occurs, one of the biggest factors for surviving the wreck and reducing injury is the use and functionality of a passenger restraint system, i.e. airbags and seat belts. Wearing seatbelts has been shown to significantly reduce injury and death in car collisions. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts reduce accident fatalities by about half.

Seatbelt Defense

Considering these statistics, it would be reasonable to ask whether your PI case might be impacted by the fact that you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of your car accident. There are several jurisdictions in the U.S. that provide for a reduction in damages that plaintiffs may claim in a PI case if they were not wearing a seatbelt. Known as the seatbelt defense, the law permits a defendant in a personal injury case to offer evidence of non-use of a seat belt by the plaintiff to reduce the defendant’s liability. The State of Oklahoma is one of the regions where the seatbelt defense can be used in court. This should not discourage you from seeking the compensation you deserve. The wearing of a seatbelt is only one consideration in the determination of your case.

Contributory Negligence

Another means by which a defendant may attempt to mitigate liability in a personal injury case is to prove contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff. That is, an argument is made that some action or inaction by the plaintiff contributed to the injuries sustained in the accident. In the State of Oklahoma, failure of the plaintiff to wear a seatbelt is a factor that can may be considered by the court to prove contributory negligence in a PI case. As in the seatbelt defense, the contributory negligence issue should not cause you hesitation in seeking reimbursement for damages.

Protect Your Rights, Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

An auto accident is a traumatic enough event without having to be concerned with whether you will receive your rightful compensation for your losses. Especially in a fatal accident where you have lost a loved one, an argument that a seatbelt was not used only adds to the pain of the victim’s family. An experienced personal injury attorney will take the seatbelt defense issue into consideration for your case. You will be assured that a seatbelt defense is only one factor to be considered in a court case and will not void your right to the compensation you deserve. At Edwards & Patterson, we represent clients in Oklahoma and Arkansas who have been injured in car, motorcycle or truck accidents. If you have been injured in an auto collision, call us. We care. We fight. We win.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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