The Seat Belt Defense: Will Your Claim be Denied For Not Wearing a Seat Belt?
Seat belts save lives.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt is one of the safest choices you can make and is your best defense against a drunk driver injuring you in a car crash.
And every state except New Hampshire has a law that requires you to wear a seat belt.
But what if you forget to wear your seat belt and are injured in a car crash? Can the insurance company reduce their settlement offer or use that evidence against you in court to reduce your compensation? In Maryland and the District of Columbia (and 28 other states), the answer is, “No.”
Both Maryland and the District of Columbia have laws saying that a failure to use a seat belt cannot be used to diminish your compensation or limit the liability of an insurance company, nor can it be considered as evidence of contributory negligence against you.
But in 15 other states, such as Arizona, evidence of not wearing a seat belt can be used to reduce your compensation if it can be shown that not using a seat belt contributed to making your injuries worse.
Of course, you should wear a seat belt every time – wherever you are. It lowers your risk of serious injury or death, and it protects your right to full compensation in states that allow the Seat Belt Defense.
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