Can You File an Injury Claim if You Weren't Wearing A Seatbelt at the time of the Accident?
If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of a car accident and had injuries caused by another driver, you can still pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Keep in mind that if you pursue compensation, the at-fault driver or the driver's insurance company may claim you were partially responsible for causing your injuries because you were not wearing a seatbelt. Once again, this should not prevent you from filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The right legal team can help you maneuver through these processes, an example of the benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer.
Tennessee's Seatbelt Law
Tennessee Traffic Safety Law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions within a vehicle to buckle up. The state's Child Passenger Safety Law requires children under 18 to use a seatbelt while sitting in the rear or the front seat. Younger children must ride in specific types of safety seats based on their age.
Anyone who violates the seatbelt law commits a Class C misdemeanor and faces a $30 fine for the first violation and $55 for a second or subsequent violation. However, under Tennessee's seatbelt law, the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt is not admissible in a lawsuit unless you intend to file a products liability claim. Theoretically, this should not hurt your chances of getting compensation.
Nonetheless, you should seek legal advice because the at-fault driver's insurance company or a jury—if your case goes to trial—may use this to reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Potential Reduction in Overall Compensation
By applying a Tennessee law called, comparative fault, your total amount of compensation can decrease based on your percentage of responsibility for your injuries. Under comparative fault, if you were not 50 percent or more at fault in an accident, you can recover compensation for your damages. For instance, if injuries and other damages from the accident totaled $60,000, but you were found to be 30 percent at fault, your award will be reduced by $18,000. So, you might only receive $42,000.
Possible Compensation for a Tennessee Car Accident Claim
The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the circumstances of your accident. Until we discuss the details of your accident and the injuries you suffered, it is difficult to give you an estimated dollar amount. However, some of the most common damages sought in personal injury cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance costs
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Home healthcare costs
- Assistive mobility devices
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Collecting Enough Compensation to Pay Bills
Discuss your situation with a lawyer who specializes in handling car accidents. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Betz, and Baril have extensive experience managing all aspects of car accidents claims. Not only do we offer legal advice, but we can also file and negotiate insurance claims for our clients. We can usually settle claims out of court. But, we file lawsuits when insurance companies refuse to negotiate fairly or offer fair settlements. Insurance companies want to make a profit so they use every opportunity they can to reduce, delay or deny a claim. We know how to counter the strategies and arguments insurance adjusters make so that we can get injury victims and their families the compensation they deserve.
How an Attorney can help with your seatbelt case.
We can help you by thoroughly investigating your car accident so that we can build a solid case on your behalf. Our case must prove that the driver's negligence caused your injury.
To do this, we will gather evidence that shows how the driver owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing injury to others. The driver's breach of this duty caused an accident, and you suffered quantifiable damages.
Our investigation may show how the driver's negligence played a role in the crash. For instance, the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting, or speeding. We use the evidence we collect to strengthen your case.
You are still entitled to file a claim if you suffered injuries and did not wear a seatbelt. You can discuss your situation with one of our motor vehicle accident attorneys in Tennessee. We offer free, no-obligation legal consultations.
We also work on a contingency basis which means you do not have to pay for our services unless we win compensation in your case. Call us today at 1-865-888-8888 to schedule an appointment.