There are many good reasons to always wear your seat belt. Research shows that in the event of an accident wearing a seat belt can reduce your chances of suffering a critical injury or death to about half. For example, in 2008 alone 64 percent of all passengers ages 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 killed in auto crashes were not wearing seat belts.
Florida has a mandatory seat belt law. The law applies to all cars, vans and pickup trucks driving on Florida roads, and requires all front seat passengers to wear a seat belt regardless of age. The law also requires all other passengers under 18 years old to be buckled, regardless of where they are sitting. In addition, the law in Florida is that all young children three and under must be restrained in a child-restraint seat which meets Federal safety guidelines.
There are clear safety reasons why you should always wear your seat belt while driving or occupying a motor vehicle on the road. However, should an accident occur when you were not wearing your seat belt, it can become much more difficult to obtain full compensation for your injuries. The insurance company and attorney for the driver responsible for the accident can use what is sometimes referred to as the seat belt defense.
The seat belt defense is a form of the legal principle of contributory negligence. In this context, the defense can claim your injuries would not have occurred, or would not have been as serious, had you been wearing a seat belt. The amount of your award would then be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to your failure to buckle up. The seat belt defense can be very effective, especially in cases involving serious head injuries incurred as a result of being ejected from the vehicle or striking the windshield.
If you or a family member were injured in a car accident, you should contact a Florida motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. This is even more important when there are extenuating circumstances such as someone not wearing their seat belt. Our in-depth understanding of the law can be invaluable when it comes to securing the settlement or award you deserve.