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


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

Hanna Padilla Testimonial

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!

Star Fire Testimonial

It is hard to put into words the care and dedication that I received from the Tiemann’s. They have been here for me every step of the way and were always available when I had questions or concerns. My husband and I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for us and our family. Thank you so much for all of the hard work and time you have put into my case, we greatly appreciate it and your friendship. We highly recommend this firm and will always be thankful for everything they have done. Thank you so much again, Kim

Maye Ly Testimonial

I just saw my lawyer Jelena Tiemann on a t.v ad, which reminded me how much she helped when I was in a desperate situation. I just love her! That is why I feel a need to tell everyone. I had a situation that happened & didn’t know what to do, our where to go. I didn’t even know if she could help me or if any lawyer could. All I wanted was it to go away & was afraid most lawyers wanted to drag it out & possibly go to court. For one she was very professional but was very personable (maybe b.c she’s a lady). She didn’t make me feel embarrassed or self-conscious that I did something wrong or was the cause of the situation. She immediately said we should try our best before going to court. Let me handle some paperwork, if at the last we do go to court we have documents. She gave me all the details, pros and cons but reassured me she deals with these cases all the time. She came through and made it as painless as possible. I now have my life back.

Jennifer Birdseye Testimonial

Tiemann Law Firm helped us with an injury case for my nephew. They were very knowledgeable and we are very happy with the service they provided. The entire staff is topnotch!

Elizabeth Ochoa Testimonial

I chose Tiemann Law Firm to help me after a car accident I was involved in. Throughout the entire process, Moe made sure to keep me updated, he always responded quickly whenever  I had questions about anything. My case won thanks to this law firm and its dedication. My experience with Tiemann Law Firm was amazing! 10/10 recommended.