If I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt in my car accident, can I still sue for damages?
Motor Vehicles Accidents - April 12, 2023
What’s worse than being injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault? Being blamed for it.
If you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, the at-fault party may try to shift the blame onto you. The good news is, failing to use a seatbelt cannot be used as evidence against you but could harm your claim in other ways.
Contact a car accident attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. We can discuss the particulars of your case during a consultation, but for now, keep reading to learn how a seatbelt may affect your claim.
Illinois safety belt laws
Under Illinois law, all drivers and passengers age eight or over are required to wear safety belts.
If a passenger is under the age of eight, they must be secured by an appropriate child restraint system as detailed in the Child Passenger Protection Act. Once a child reaches 40 pounds, they can be transported in the back seat of the vehicle with a lap belt only.
Should a child or another passenger with a disability or medical condition be unable to secure their own safety belt, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for securing and adjusting the safety belt.
Wearing a seatbelt helps to protect the driver and passengers alike, and is an important step to take before driving to protect the safety of everyone in your vehicle.
Good news: Failure to use a seatbelt cannot be used as evidence
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else, typically you will collect compensation from their insurance company. The insurance company will try and use evidence against you to reduce the amount they have to pay you or deny your claim altogether.
Luckily, in the state of Illinois, not wearing a seatbelt cannot be used as evidence of negligence against you in a claim. Let’s take a look at a couple of situations where failing to use a seatbelt cannot be used against you.
|An 18-wheeler is driving too fast on the highway when it skids and hits you. Their insurance company may argue that they’re not liable since you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, but they cannot claim that you were negligent for not wearing it.
Insurance companies have full-time teams of claim analysts and lawyers carefully scrutinizing all claims, looking for reasons to deny them or reduce the payment. When you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, have an experienced attorney by your side. They can ensure that you are not taken advantage of and take less than what you deserve.
If you accept a settlement from the insurance company, you are no longer able to collect any further damages related to your car accident.
For example, if you accept a settlement offer that covers your car repairs and emergency room bills, that is all you get. If your injuries worsen and end up costing you more in medical expenses, or even prevent you from working, you will not be able to collect any further compensation.
Hurt in a car accident? Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates for help
In many cases, the answer is yes, you can still claim for a car accident if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. However, that doesn’t mean the insurance company won’t find other ways to devalue your claim. The best way to get ahead of their accusations is to start working with an attorney.