Consequences of Not Wearing Your Seatbelt

Mar 29th, 2024 | Car Accident

A split second is all it takes for a routine drive to escalate into a critical emergency. The absence of a seatbelt—a safeguard we often take for granted—can dramatically alter the outcome of a collision. Seatbelts are critical safety devices that can reduce the risk of severe injury or death in an accident; if you fail to wear one, dangerous consequences can occur.

Your Injuries Can Be Much More Severe

Seatbelts are engineered to protect you by distributing the forces of a crash across the stronger parts of your body, such as your chest, hips, and shoulders. Without this protection, you’re more likely to suffer from severe injuries or even be ejected from the vehicle.

What might have been minor injuries with a seatbelt can turn into life-threatening conditions without one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26,325 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in car accidents in 2021—and 50% of these victims were unrestrained at the time of the accident.

You Can Put Your Passengers at Risk

Not wearing a seatbelt doesn’t just endanger your life; it can also pose a serious risk to other passengers in the vehicle. In the event of a collision, an unbelted passenger can become a projectile, potentially causing harm to others. Failure to wear a seat belt could also encourage others to not wear theirs either, increasing the risk of severe or fatal injuries in an accident.

You May Face Legal Penalties

In Connecticut, the law is clear: seat belts are mandatory for drivers, children, and front-seat passengers. Ignoring this law not only compromises safety but also exposes you to legal repercussions. If you are caught, you could face fines ranging from $92 to $120.

Your Healthcare Costs Can Be Higher

The financial impact of not wearing a seatbelt can be significant. Injuries sustained without the protection of a seatbelt often require more extensive medical treatment, leading to higher healthcare costs. From emergency services to prolonged hospital stays and rehabilitation, the expenses can accumulate quickly, placing a financial strain on you and your family.

You Can Face Difficulties Securing Compensation

If you choose to pursue legal action after a car accident, you could face difficulties recovering the compensation that you deserve. According to Section 14-100a(c)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes, insurance companies cannot use a failure to wear a seatbelt as a reason to deny a claim. Additionally, the court cannot use a failure to wear a seatbelt as evidence that the plaintiff was partially liable for the accident. However, this will not stop these parties from attempting to use these tactics.

Defense attorneys or insurance representatives might attempt to argue that your injuries were exacerbated by your failure to wear a seatbelt, justifying a settlement that is much lower than what you deserve. In these situations, you need a lawyer on your side who understands the law and can ensure that your rights are protected.

A Connecticut car accident lawyer will advocate for your right to fair compensation every step of the way. If you were injured in a collision, schedule a free legal consultation and learn how a New Haven car accident lawyer can guide you through this challenging time.