Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 3:12 am    

DOES CALIFORNIA’S SEAT BELT DEFENSE HURT MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?

The answer to this question is “it depends.” Ever car accident claim is different; therefore, it is unclear whether one defense or another defense could have a significant impact on your claim. However, California does allow defendants to use the seat belt defense and, if a defendant is successful, it could have a huge impact on the amount of money you receive for your claim.

If you were injured in a car accident and you were not wearing your seat belt, you need an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney now. Call our office at (916) 999-9000 to speak with an experienced attorney to find out how you can fight back against the seat belt defense.

What is a Seat Belt Defense?

Also known as a safety belt defense, this type of defense relies on a comparative negligence argument. First, not wearing a safety belt does not bar you from filing a lawsuit or recovering damages in a car accident. If California operated under contributory negligence, the fact you did not act reasonably by wearing a safety restraint could bar you from recovering damages. Thankfully, California is a comparative negligence state, but that does not mean you are out of the woods yet.

First, the defense will raise the issue that you were not wearing your safety belt as required by law at the time of the crash. The attorney will argue that had you been wearing your belt in accordance with California law, you either would not have been injured as severely as you were or you would not have been injured at all. Therefore, you are partially to blame for your injury and the defendant should not pay for your lack of due care.

If the attorney is successful in his argument, the jury could find that you should be held responsible for a portion of the fault. Under comparative negligence laws, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage the jury assigns to you as fault for not wearing a safety belt. For instance, if the jury decides you should bear 30 percent of the fault for your injuries, your compensation is reduced by 30 percent. In a case where the total damages equal $100,000, you would only receive $70,000 for your injuries.

California Seat Belt Laws

California has mandatory seat belt laws for all occupants in the vehicle. Drivers and passengers are to wear safety restraints when riding in a motor vehicle. Children should be restrained in a car seat or booster seat according to California’s child safety restraint laws. A safety belt should secure all other passengers and the driver. Failing to obey seat belt laws can result in fines and other penalties.

Call a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for Help

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, our attorneys can help. We offer free consultations and no-obligation case evaluations, and we accept most cases on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay our attorney fees until we recover money for your claim.

Client Testimonials

Herb T. Testimonial
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The Tiemanns were referred to me by a friend and I am exceptionally happy with the service I received. I had never been in an accident before. I had no idea what to do. Jelena verbally explained how everything would work to me, and she and Peter handled everything. I didn't have to lift a finger once. They went above and beyond for me and I am extremely grateful. I pray I won't ever need this type of assistance again, but I will definitely be referring them to friends and family.

Jennifer T. Testimonial
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I highly recommend The Tiemann Law Firm! I had never before been in a situation where I sustained injury and had to seek legal representation. I was nervous, traumatized, and had no idea what to expect. Jelena, Peter, and their staff walked me through each step of the process. They explained everything in detail. They patiently answered all my questions, responded quickly to every email, text message, phone call, etc. I felt totally prepared for each new phase of the legal process. Furthermore, they were fearless in their defense of me. In certain situations, when I felt attacked or scared my attorney protected me like I was family. Their diligence, honesty, integrity, and compassion provided a true sense of healing and closure for my family and I. The Tiemann Law Firm accomplished more for me than I ever thought possible and I am forever grateful.

S.B. Testimonial
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Here's the thing... Nobody really thinks much about lawyers until they need one.  Well, we needed one!  The Tieman Law Firm came through for us in a big way. They were professional, courteous, thorough, and had excellent staff as well.  Highly recommended...

Jereme S. Testimonial
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No one wants to have to hire a lawyer, but if you do. I prefer Tiemann Law. They helped a family member who was injured on the job, and the company did not want to compensate him even though, the injury occurred on the job on company time. Jelena was always professional in explaining the lengthy process of fighting a large corporation. 2 years later he finally is receiving the deserved compensation.

Hanna Padilla Testimonial
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From the very start of my case the Tiemann Law Firm was wonderful. Perter came all the way to my home to sit down and talk to me about my options. He made me and my partner feel very comfortable and promised us he would take the very best care of my case. Peter kept me informed every step of the way and was always on top of things. everything was done in a timely manor and I always felt like I was the only case he was working on because he was so fast. In the end Peter got me back way more money than I ever expected. I would recommend this law firm to everyone. I am very happy with the outcome of my case thanks to the Tiemann Law Firm! Thank you!