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Driver or Passenger: Who Is Responsible for No-Seatbelt Injuries?

Seat Belt and Broken Glass

Responsibility for No-Seatbelt Injuries in California

Under California law, almost everyone in a moving vehicle must wear their seatbelt at all times. While there are some exceptions, failing to wear a seatbelt will most often result in a traffic ticket. Given the penalty for not wearing a seatbelt, some might wonder what happens if someone gets into a crash while not wearing a seatbelt. Moreover, who is responsible for no-seatbelt injuries?

No Seatbelt Under 16? The Driver is Responsible.

When filing a police report after a car accident, the responding officer may discover someone in the crash was not wearing a seatbelt. In this case, the officer will issue a seatbelt ticket to whoever failed to follow the law. If the person failing to wear a seatbelt is under 16, the driver will receive the ticket.

No Seatbelt Means Smaller Payout in Injury Claims

The good news is that people who receive a seatbelt ticket can still file for injury compensation. However, the other insurance company will likely order tests and investigations to see how a seatbelt could have resulted in a lesser injury and, therefore a smaller payout.

California is a comparative fault state. That means the settlement is reduced in proportion to a claimant's perceived fault. For example, if there’s a $100,000 settlement on the line and the insurance companies say that wearing a seatbelt could have reduced 40% of the damage, the claimant would only receive $60,000.

Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Because the rules of comparative fault allow insurance companies to reduce their settlements, they’ll do everything they can to prove how a seatbelt could have prevented injuries. That’s why claimants need a skilled attorney in their corner. An experienced car accident attorney can collect the evidence needed to get people the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in an auto accident in Sacramento, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Sacramento injury lawyer from Piering Law Firm, please send us an email or call (916) 476-2399.

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