What Happens if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt in My Car Accident?
Seat belt wearing is a legal requirement for all drivers as well as passengers in North Carolina. However, it is common for plenty of folks to not properly buckle up on every ride. This choice can greatly and negatively affect your personal injury claim if you are involved in an accident. A Raleigh car accident attorney at Nagle & Associates, P.A., will fight for your right to compensation.
The Difference Between Car Insurance Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you are injured in a car accident and the at-fault driver is insured, you as the victim have some options for compensation for your losses. Most, if not all, car accident cases begin with an insurance claim filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is otherwise known as a third party claim and once filed, an adjuster will conduct a thorough investigation to determine how the accident happened and the nature or extent of your claimed injuries.
By the end of the investigation the adjuster will likely deny your claim or counter offer you a certain amount to settle. Once you reach this point, know that your failure to wear a seatbelt will be the first element to come into play. Always negotiate a better deal for yourself- don’t simply take the first offer. You want the experience and professional help from Nagle & Associates, P.A., to guide you through this process.
It is important to remember that no matter the route you choose, your failure to wear a seatbelt can potentially prevent you from receiving better financial compensation. This is a result of what is known as the seatbelt defense.
The Seatbelt Defense
The Seatbelt Defense refers to the insurance company’s use of evidence as it pertains to your failure to properly wear a seatbelt. The main idea behind this concept is that even though you may not have caused the accident, your failure to wear a seatbelt contributed to the severity of your car accident injuries.
Not all states though allow for the use of the concept of the Seatbelt Defense. In North Carolina, the Seatbelt Defense is not applicable. However, it does overlap with two other legal components known as the comparative fault and mitigation.
The Comparative Fault Defense
Under this element, the amount you can recover for your injuries is reduced by a certain amount reflected on your degree level in fault for failing to wear a seatbelt. There are one of two ways in which your legal claim can go; either pure comparative fault or modified comparative fault.
In other states, the seatbelt defense overlaps with mitigation which states that an injured person has a legal duty to use reasonable efforts to avoid their damages. It means that the at-fault driver’s insurance or attorney would argue that you, the victim, would not have suffered the same injuries had you been wearing a seatbelt. This is done in the hopes that your compensation is reduced.
Contact Nagle & Associates, P.A., if Injured in a Car Accident
As previously mentioned, some states do not allow the use of the Seatbelt Defense, like North Carolina. This means that your failure to wear a seatbelt can not be used as evidence of your negligence. Hence, it does not impact your financial recovery. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Your injuries are of much concern. Call Nagle & Associates, P.A., at (866) 631-2228 today for a free consultation and review of your claim.