Advocating For Houston’s Injured Since 1996

Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec

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Do I have a claim even if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt?

You might think wearing a seatbelt is unnecessary when it comes to your well-being. But you may need to consider what not wearing one can do to an otherwise healthy personal injury claim.

Seatbelts reduce the risk of serious injury by half in the event of a car crash. But if you’re not wearing one, you may not only put your health at risk. Comparative fault in Texas can take seatbelt use into account, meaning money the court awards for damages could also take a hit.

Safety calculations first

The process for figuring out the impact of not strapping yourself in isn’t an exact science, but it usually hinges on a few standards:

  • The defense may need to prove that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt
  • The court can decide how much not buckling up caused the damages you suffered
  • You can then be found partially at-fault for any injuries that resulted

Comparative fault effects

Even if you’re found somewhat responsible for the injuries you suffered in your accident, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. What it does likely mean is that the court will deduct your percentage of fault from the money you’re awarded.

Types of damages

If the courts do lay some of the blame on your shoulders, it could be for several reasons. They may cut your payout on injuries you suffer while getting thrown from a vehicle, meeting the airbag head-on or getting thrown around the car.

Wearing your seatbelt greatly increases your chance of surviving an accident, and could also mean more money from your personal injury suit stays in your pocket.