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Wearing a seatbelt is a safety measure many people use while driving or riding in a car. Being restrained while a car is in motion can help save lives and prevent injuries in many car accident cases. However, it is not uncommon for people to drive cars or ride in taxi/rideshare vehicles unrestrained. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 58% of those killed in nighttime accidents in 2020 were unrestrained. Not wearing a seatbelt may result in severe injuries and damage in the case of an accident. 

Additionally, choosing not to be restrained in a vehicle may cause the injured to share a portion of negligence and may affect the total compensation they are eligible for in a car accident claim. At Setareh Law Firm, our understanding and compassionate lawyer, Daniel Setareh, has helped many car accident victims by protecting their rights and working to hold liable drivers accountable for their actions. 

Understanding California’s Seatbelt Laws

Like airbags, seatbelts are a safety measure that may help drivers and passengers lessen the chance of severe injury or sustaining harm in a collision. However, seatbelts and airbags can cause injuries during a collision and are not a guarantee against harm or fatal results. California law enforces wearing seatbelts. 

California Vehicle Code 27315 explains seatbelt laws in the following way:

“…A person 16 years of age or over shall not be a passenger in a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person is properly restrained by a safety belt…” 

Any person over 16 must be restrained while in a motor vehicle. Additionally, parents are responsible for ensuring a child under 15 is appropriately restrained in a moving vehicle. Failing to wear a seatbelt may lead to trouble with the law and impact the ability to recover compensation even when another driver is at fault for the collision. Insurance companies typically use any measure of error or wrongdoing of the opposing party to resolve a claim and lessen the compensatory damages in a settlement.

Can I File a Claim if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt and Suffered Injuries in a Car Accident?

In California, injured parties can file a claim against the negligent parties responsible for causing an accident. However, their limitations may apply if the claim is not within the statutory period or you are proven to be at fault. In cases where another driver caused an accident that resulted in your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation.  

What Is the Pure Comparative Negligence Rule?

Regardless of the accident one endures and the injuries sustained, California’s pure comparative negligence rule applies to injury claims. Under this rule, multiple parties may share fault for a collision depending on the circumstances and regardless of who is injured. If a driver caused an accident and the other driver was not wearing a seatbelt, the injured person may only recover compensation for the portion of damages and liability the other driver is determined to have. 

At times, insurance will use proof of comparative negligence, such as not wearing a seatbelt despite the other liable party’s causing an accident, to reduce total compensation. This may affect an accident victim’s injury claim because of liability and reduction in compensable damages. 

With a skilled attorney on your case, you may feel more at ease following an accident throughout the claim or lawsuit process. Our attorney may provide an aggressive defense with irrefutable evidence, accident reconstruction, expert testimony, and other valuable resources for your case. 

Our Injury Attorney at Setareh Law Firm May Help You Recover Compensation After a Car Accident

Car accident injuries and damages vary among different types of accidents. While seatbelts help many remain restrained and avoid being ejected or severely injured in many cases, seatbelts don’t guarantee drivers and passengers are free from harm or death. You may recover total compensation when filing an injury claim by seeking a seasoned car accident attorney with ample knowledge of California’s injury laws. 

Our Spanish-speaking attorney has built a strong rapport within California’s communities and is dedicated to providing an aggressive defense for injured parties. Complete a contact form or call (310) 659-1826 to schedule a case review at Setareh Law Firm and put your best foot forward after an accident.