Articles Posted in Seat Belt Issues/Law

When you wear a seatbelt, this will allow you to receive full compensation in the event someone causes a serious injury to you in an auto accident in which you were not at fault. In Arizona, even if someone admits they were completely at fault for an accident, and that person admits that his or her negligence caused the accident, this negligent driver can get away with paying nothing or next to nothing.

As personal injury lawyers in Arizona, we know that if the negligent party’s defense can show that the injured person would have eliminated or decreased the possibility of injury by wearing a seatbelt, this could definitely happen in an Arizona courtroom. The degree to which the seatbelt would have prevented injury will lessen any compensation the injured party gets, even if the liable driver admits fault. In Arizona, the injured party would then get stuck with medical expenses, as well as losing out on lost income and other compensable claims for damages.

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The simple answer to this question is yes. You can file a lawsuit for injuries you suffered even if you were not wearing your seatbelt. However, even if you prove that the other driver was negligent and that the injuries suffered resulted from the accident, you will still need to deal with another issue. The driver’s insurance company will most probably hire an expert witness to help develop evidence to the effect that the injuries incurred in the accident would not have been as serious if the plaintiff had worn a seatbelt. This in essence will determine the proportion of the responsibility for the injuries that were due to your negligence in not wearing a seatbelt, and the driver who caused the accident, as well as the driver’s insurance company, will not have to pay the difference.

Therefore, if it can be determined that a serious car accident in Chandler would have resulted only in a two day hospital stay and a broken leg if an accident victim had been wearing a seatbelt, but because he or she was not wearing a seatbelt, the injured person then received a serious brain injury, the insurance company would not have to pay anything for the brain injury. This is, of course, a hypothetical situation, yet it does show the financial disadvantages of not wearing a seatbelt in any car accident claim against a negligent driver.

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Some people argue that wearing a seatbelt should be a choice. In other words, it should be left to each individual to decide if he or she will suffer a serious injury or avoid one. As Arizona personal injury attorneys, we have helped many people who’ve sustained severe injuries in auto accidents. Likewise we have helped the families of loved ones who have been lost in car crashes, too. More often than not, those serious injuries or tragic deaths could have been prevented if a seatbelt had been worn. Consider the people you love when you make the decision not to wear a seatbelt. Consider your financial interests, if is a significant motivating factor for you.

Here’s why. Wearing a seatbelt will allow you to receive full compensation if somebody else causes you a serious injury. In Arizona, even if somebody admits to being completely at fault for an accident—even if that person further admits that their negligence caused a debilitating injury to another driver– the at fault driver can be released from responsibility without paying a dime if they show that a seatbelt would have decreased or eliminated the injury. The at fault driver – even when he has admitted fault– is not responsible for any of the medical bills, lost wages, or other compensable claims.

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In our first post discussing seatbelt laws in Arizona, we mentioned that some doctors may state that if a person had worn a seatbelt, they would not have survived the car accident. Although this is not what most people expect to hear, it does happen. However, even if these statements come from medical doctors, those doctors were not present at the scene of the collision. They’re not crime scene experts reconstructing the accident, they are health professionals working to heal the wounded.

Although the service they provide is invaluable, the comments they make after the fact do not constitute a true expert opinion. They are qualified to determine the extent of injuries suffered, but not the direct cause of those injuries. They can only speculate that injuries were avoided as a result of not wearing a seatbelt.

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As the first post in our three blog series discussing Arizona seatbelt laws and how they pertain to personal injury claims, we will begin by addressing that Arizona’s seatbelt laws are a little bit confusing to many people, but the underlying principles are well known. For example, most people understand that throughout the state, no matter where you are, you are required to wear a seatbelt. The public realizes that this has been the law in this state and almost every other state in the country for a long time. Drivers and passengers alike know they will get a traffic ticket if they drive without wearing a seatbelt.

But there are some important facts that most motorists don’t know. When it comes to how the failure to wear a seatbelt affects a personal injury claim, the question becomes more complicated.

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Yes, you can still file a personal injury claim even if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, but it’s just harder to receive full compensation for your injuries and any expenses related to the accident if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. That’s because the at fault driver will absolutely use the fact that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt against you. Their insurance company will most likely hire expert witnesses in order to gather evidence that proves that had you been wearing a seatbelt, you wouldn’t be as badly injured. If they can in fact prove this, then your compensation can then be greatly reduced. Here’s an example.

Let’s say you were involved in a car accident in Glendale, Arizona with a negligent driver and you WERE wearing your seatbelt. You sustained a broken arm and had to stay in the hospital for two days. In such a case, you will likely receive full compensation for your injuries and the cost of your hospital stay.

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Seatbelt laws are pretty plain and simple to the vast majority of people. Most individuals know that they are required by Arizona state law to wear a seatbelt while they are driving. They know that driving without a seatbelt can result in getting a ticket, or worse, if they’re involved in a serious accident, it could result in a serious injury or even death. But besides causing possible bodily harm, not wearing a seatbelt can have a seriously negative impact on your personal injury claim – even if the negligent driver was completely at fault in the accident.

First of all, you should always wear your seatbelt. And not just because it’s the law, but also because it could save your life. We’ve heard people tell us stories about friends or relatives who were involved in a car accident, didn’t have a seatbelt on and swear that that’s the reason their life was spared. But in many of these cases, it’s a doctor in a hospital or a mechanic in a body shop that tells the car accident victim this information. While those people might be experts in their respective fields, they are not experts in accident reconstruction and nor should they tell an accident victim with certainty that not wearing a seatbelt saved their life. In order to determine whether this is truly the case, you need to rely on the expertise of a trained accident reconstructionist.

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There are actually a few good legal reasons and arguments to defend you in the case of a car accident where you weren’t wearing your seatbelt. One of these legal reasons is if you’re in someone else’s car and don’t have access to a working seatbelt and you’re injured in a car accident.

That said, these situations where failure to wear a seatbelt can be excused under the law are pretty rare. But it’s true that if this does happen to you, a jury is likely to be much more forgiving if you didn’t have access to a good working seatbelt, then if you just decided not to wear a seatbelt.

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As experienced Phoenix car accident attorneys, we want to applaud the efforts of Yuma, Arizona police for trying to get people to wear their seatbelts more. There is no question that seatbelts save lives. In a recent article, Yuma police were reporting that they were taking extra measures to make sure drivers and passengers wore their seatbelts.

As attorneys, we have seen too many life changing injuries, many of which left families without a loved one who was fatally injured, or other people with serious permanent injuries that would have been lessened if they had not failed to wear their seatbelt. Of course, seatbelts do not save lives in every case, but seatbelts do save lives in many situations. Sometimes a seatbelt can offer very little value, but other times it has been proven that a seatbelt saved the life of an innocent individual.

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We just want to take this opportunity to show our appreciation and support for the Yuma, Arizona police and their enforcement efforts to get people to use seat belts. It has been reported in an article that Yuma, Arizona is going to take extra efforts to increase the frequency with which people use their seat belts.

Why would a skilled personal injury lawyer in Arizona care if people use their seat belts? Perhaps this sounds like something that only a mother would take interest in. However, we have seen far too many life-changing injuries – and some people who have been killed, leaving children and spouses and parents behind – because of a failure to use a seat belt. Seat belts save lives. However, they do not save lives in every case. Unfortunately, there are times where a seat belt may be of little value. However, when you’re dealing with a life and death situation, you must play the odds in your favor. Far too many people call us with horrendous injuries due to a car accident in Arizona that could have been avoided if they had simply put on their seat belt.

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