In a car accident, you are more likely to suffer injuries when not utilizing your seat belt. With that in mind, the state of Florida passed a law requiring the restraint of all Florida drivers while those drivers are engaged in the operation of a vehicle.
You might think that a citation is not a huge deal when considering the legal consequences to violating the above rule; however, a citation may not be the only legal consequence you face. What you may not realize is that if you suffer serious injuries from an accident that resulted from the fault of another driver, your compensation for those injuries may be greatly reduced due to your choice of not wearing the required safety device.
What does this mean? Florida law follows the doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which aims to hold each party responsible in relation to their own fault. Specifically, if a jury finds that you have contributed to the accident or are partially at fault for your injuries, the doctrine of comparative fault allows your award of damages to be reduced in proportion to your own fault. For example, if a jury awards you $100,000 in damages but determines that your failure to wear a seat belt contributed to 30% of your injuries, your award will be reduced by that percentage of fault, and you will only recover $70,000 in damages.
As defense attorneys and insurance companies search for any evidence to offset or reduce the damages caused by the at-fault party’s negligence, the seat-belt defense is a commonly used theory to prove to a jury the injured party’s fault.
With the extensive knowledge and experience as both a personal injury attorney and a former insurance adjuster, Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie understands the many issues and defenses that come up in motor vehicle cases.
Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie is a personal injury attorney located in Safety Harbor, Florida. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, please call 727-501-3464 for a free consultation. You can also learn more about Attorney Lamie at www.chelsielamie.com.