Can You Still Sue if You Get into a Car Accident but Were Not Wearing Your Seatbelt?

Years ago, just about every state passed a law requiring that you wear a seatbelt. A lot of people complained about this. They figured nobody should be allowed to require them to wear a seatbelt if they didn’t want to. However, since the State ultimately pays a price for people injured in car accidents, they are allowed to do whatever they want. If you want to drive on their roads, then you have to follow their rules. The police can pull you over if they see you aren’t wearing your belt. And, if you get pulled over for some other reason, they can cite you for not wearing your seatbelt. This will be on top of the original infraction.

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You really should wear your seatbelt anyway. Studies have shown that, in most cases, a seatbelt can protect you in a car accident. It may not always prevent you from being injured all together. However, it usually can lessen the impact during a car crash. If you don’t wear your belt and get hit by another car, you could be seriously injured. You’ll need to go to the hospital and get treated for your injuries. You may even need to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver. If they learn that you were not wearing your seatbelt, they can argue that you were responsible for some of your injuries. This means you may be entitled to all of your damages. In either case, it’s a good idea to talk to a car accident lawyer in Buffalo right after your car accident. They know how to handle cases like this. They also know how the law works in New York.

New York is a Comparative Negligence State

The good news is that New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that, if you’re found to be partially at fault, you can still collect damages. Some states don’t allow this. They say that, even if you’re just 5% at fault, your claim can be dismissed. Insurance companies know how these laws work. If they truly think they can prove you were partially at fault, they aren’t going to be willing to pay all of your damages. Why is this? They know the law will dictate that your claim be reduced by your percentage of fault.

The way comparative negligence works is quite simple. Your claim is reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you’re 30% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 30%. This means your $100,000 lawsuit will be reduced by $30,000. The hard part is proving how much you were at fault. If you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, it may only reduce your claim by a small amount. However, if you were ejected from the car, the defendant’s lawyer will argue that your injuries only happened because you didn’t wear your belt. Your Buffalo car accident lawyer will have to prove that this wasn’t the case. That’s why it’s really important that you go to the hospital after your accident. The doctors in the emergency room will document your injuries. They may be able to testify that your injuries would have happened regardless of whether you were wearing a seat belt or not. Or your attorney can hire experts to testify to this effect. 

Call and Talk to a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo

If you or your loved one are hurt in a car crash, you’ll need help. You should call and talk to an experienced car accident lawyer in Buffalo. They can review your case and give you an idea of what your case may be worth. They can also explain how the comparative negligence rule can impact your case. Rather than risk getting nothing, you should have someone there who knows the law. They will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to try to settle your claim. They’ll make sure you get enough money to cover your medical bills and out of pocket expenses.

Call today and schedule your initial consultation. Our attorneys in Buffalo can answer any questions you might have. They can also let you know what you’ll be up against. If you weren’t wearing your seat belt, there is a chance that your claim will be reduced. But it’s better to have a skilled negotiator in your corner. The consultation is free and you won’t have to pay a dime until you resolve your case. 

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