The phrase “Seat Belts Save Lives” isn’t commonly used for no reason. It is factually dangerous and reckless to drive or ride in a car without a seatbelt.
51% of vehicle occupants killed in car accidents die because they were not wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, many people still disobey this law and ignore the consequences. But there are, in fact, consequences of not wearing a seatbelt.
So, let’s take a look at these consequences and the California laws pertaining to seatbelt use.
If you are involved in a San Francisco car accident and have questions and need help handling your personal injury claim, our team at Sally Morin can assist you. We offer free case evaluations and can offer guidance on your best options going forward.
California Seatbelt Laws
The California DMV states that you and ALL passengers must wear a seatbelt.
This includes restraints for both adults and children. And wearing both the lap belt and shoulder harness can increase your survival rate in most car accidents.
You can receive a traffic violation and a fine for not wearing a seatbelt in California. According to the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, an adult seatbelt violation comes with a $162 fine. You can also be fined $490 for not properly restraining children under the age of 16.
10 Consequences of Not Wearing a Seatbelt
There are many dangers or consequences of not wearing a seatbelt. With wearing a seatbelt being law and with so many states running seatbelt campaigns and reporting the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt, it is clear that wearing a seatbelt is crucial and can save lives.
The top 10 consequences of not wearing a seatbelt include:
- Injury: Not wearing a seatbelt increases your chance of sustaining a catastrophic injury. People who do not wear their seatbelts are more likely to suffer from severe head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.
- Stress: When not wearing a seatbelt leads to a serious injury, this can place a lot of stress on you and your loved ones.
- Medical bills: Of course, injuries that result from not wearing a seatbelt means you will likely have costly medical bills. Car accident injury treatments are not cheap and are more expensive when the injuries are more severe.
- Fines: As mentioned above, you can be fined for not wearing a seatbelt and for not properly restraining children in the car.
- License suspension: Not wearing a seatbelt can result in a violation that goes on your record, and the more violations you have, the more likely you are to have your license suspended or revoked.
- Mental trauma: The aftermath of a serious accident that results in severe injuries can impact your mental well-being. Many people who sustain bad injuries after a car accident due to not wearing a seatbelt also suffer from mental anguish from dealing with such a traumatic experience.
- Pain and suffering: If you sustain severe injuries as a result of not wearing a seatbelt, you will also have to potentially deal with those injuries long-term. And the longer someone deals with an injury or impairment from an injury, the more pain and suffering they experience, which can affect their quality of life.
- Car damage: If you get into an accident when not wearing a seatbelt, not only do you suffer financially, physically, and mentally, but you might also have to deal with car damage or property damage.
- Time-consuming: The legal matters involved in being in a car accident when not wearing a seatbelt can also be challenging and time-consuming. If you are viewed as reckless for not wearing a seatbelt, it could make it harder for you to argue your case, which means it could take longer to reach a settlement.
- Death: Not wearing a seatbelt can also increase your risk of death. Injuries tend to be more severe when people aren’t wearing a seatbelt. You could die immediately, especially if you are thrown from the car, or you could die later from complications with your injuries.
Does Not Wearing a Seatbelt Affect My Ability to File a Lawsuit?
If you are involved in an accident, and you were found to have not been wearing your seatbelt, it could affect your claim. You will not be barred from filing a claim or a lawsuit if the accident was caused by another at-fault party, but they could use the “seatbelt defense” to reduce your settlement.
For example, if you were not wearing a seatbelt, the insurance company of the person you are suing could claim that the damages you suffered—like your injuries—would have been much less severe if you had been wearing your seatbelt. As a result, they could argue that you should receive less compensation as the resulting injuries were partially your fault.
So, yes, you can still file a lawsuit if you were not wearing a seatbelt, but it could significantly reduce how much compensation you are awarded.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
If you were involved in a San Francisco car accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, you will need professional representation to help you defend your case.
Even if you were wearing a seatbelt, the severity of the accident could have been the result of the other party’s negligent actions—such as speeding—so you will need someone on your side who can help you argue your case to ensure you get the full and fair compensation you deserve.
At Sally Morin, we have represented thousands of California clients and are dedicated to providing the best service possible to win a high-value settlement. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.