411 About The Seat Belt Defense
Do you often forget to wear your seat belt? You may not think about what can happen if you don’t wear a seat belt. But if you are unfortunate enough to get into an accident, the seat belt is the one thing you will wish you had not forgotten to wear.
Wearing a seat belt is not only important for safety reasons. Not wearing one can have legal consequences as well. If you are caught, you may face a serious fine. However, a monetary consequence may be nothing compared to the negative impact on your personal injury claim.
California’s Seat Belt Law
In California, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires that every passenger, including the driver, riding in a private car to wear a safety belt. When it comes to limos and taxis, the law only requires the front seat passengers to wear seat belts. However, these vehicles will still need to provide seat belts for back seat passengers.
California seat belt law states that a driver is responsible for any passenger 16 years or older in the car to secure himself. The driver also has the responsibility to tell all passengers to buckle up. If there are passengers under the age of 16 riding without their parents, the driver must also ensure that they are wearing their seat belt. However, if the children’s parents are in the car, they are responsible to securely belt their child.
What Is the Seat Belt Defense?
In the event of an accident the seat belt defense law can provide the motorist who caused the accident a defense. For instance, let’s say that you were rear-ended by another car while on the freeway, causing your head to slam into the steering wheel. You suffered a head injury, neck injury and cuts and bruises. The other driver and a witness noticed that you were not wearing your seat belt at the time of the accident.
If you file a legal claim or lawsuit, the defendant (the occupant or owner of the car that caused the rear-end accident) can argue that your head would not have slammed into the steering wheel if you had been wearing your seat belt. This is a clear demonstration of the seat belt defense.
Using the Seat Belt Defense In California Car Accident Claims
Not all states accept the seat belt defense. However, California is one of the few states that allow the defense. As such, it is important for you to always wear a seat belt when riding in a car in California, regardless of whether you are the driver or a passenger.
The seat belt defense can reduce the amount of damages you can recover in your car accident claim. This is why you need an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who is well versed in personal injury law to negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the legal team at the Law Offices of Vahdat & Associate will fight for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys, please call us at (888) 523-1698.