Justice for you starts with a lawyer who listens
Alexander Law Group, LLP is a nationally recognized, award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco, California. The attorneys of the Alexander Law Group have decades of experience with outstanding results litigating difficult and complex cases against major insurance companies, large corporations, public and government entities. Call us now at 888.777.1776 for a Free Case Evaluation.

Can Not Wearing a Seat Belt Be Used against You in a Lawsuit?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016By Richard Alexander

Some people worry that they will not be able to sue someone else for crash-related injuries unless they were wearing their seat belts. Some states do prohibit this from happening. Fortunately, California is not one of them.

Companies and people defending crash lawsuits often try to blame the injured person for his or her own injuries. One way they do this is by saying that the victim failed to wear his or her seat belt. In fact, this tactic is so common that this argument is often known as the “seat belt defense.”

The argument goes like this: State law requires drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts. People can even be punished for not wearing a seat belt when the law requires its use. Therefore, the wrongdoer should not be held responsible for injuries that result from the victim not wearing the mandated seat belt.

Most state legislatures or courts recognize that this is an extremely harsh result and do not allow defendants to wipe away all liability with the seat belt defense. In fact, several states do not allow wrongdoers who cause crashes to introduce evidence of seat belt nonuse for any purpose. A few states are on the other end of the spectrum, allowing evidence of seat belt nonuse for any reason.

California’s seat belt use law is somewhere in the middle. In California, a wrongdoer can use evidence of seat belt nonuse, but only to try to show the comparative fault of the victim.

What does this mean? This means that the jury can hear evidence that the victim was not wearing his or her seat belt, then compare any fault of the victim with the fault of the wrongdoer. As a result, the money damages you receive could be reduced, even if the other driver was entirely at fault in causing the accident.

If you or a family member have been wrongfully injured in an accident, call us at 888.777.1776 or use our online contact form. Delays can hurt your case, so please don't wait.

While the results that we have obtained in other cases and our clients' testimonials do not guarantee, promise or predict the outcome of your case, we do promise to do our very best for you in your case.

Copyright © 1994 - 2019 Alexander Law Group, LLP. All rights reserved.