According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of seat belts has reduced the number of serious auto accident injuries and fatalities by as much as 50%. In 2015 alone, seat belts are estimated to have saved as many as 14,000 lives. When worn correctly, seat belts are one of the best life-saving tools you can have when you are in an auto accident. Not only can they save your life, but they can also help to reduce the risk of suffering severe and disabling injuries.
It is a law in Arizona that drivers and passengers wear seat belts while driving. The law states that any car manufactured after 1972 be equipped with seat belt restraints for front passengers. According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, those seat belts must have both a shoulder and a lap belt that can be properly fastened while the car is in motion. If there is only a lap belt available, then it must also be fastened when the motor vehicle is in motion.
It is also the law that each passenger who is under the age of 16 wear a seat belt regardless of where they are sitting while the car is in motion. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that anyone under the age of 16 years old is properly restrained while in transit.
What if you are in an accident and are not wearing a seat belt?
If you are in an accident and injured without wearing the required seat belt, you might be held partially liable for your injuries. Since Arizona is a comparative fault state, each driver is apportioned a percentage of fault for the accident and their injuries. That percentage determines the amount they can recover for their injuries and damages.
Tort law for auto accidents states that people have the responsibility to behave as any “reasonable” person would if they were in the same position. Therefore, if you weren’t wearing your seat belt and you were in a collision, a case will be made that you weren’t behaving as any reasonable person would, and that you might be partially liable for your injuries. Since a reasonable person not only knows that it is the law to wear a seat belt, but also that they save lives, failing to wear your seat belt might make you responsible for your injuries.
If you were injured in an accident but not wearing your seat belt, the insurance company is likely denying all or part of your personal injury claim. While it is the law to wear a seat belt, the failure to wear one does not mean you cannot recover for your injuries. It is, however, imperative that you have the right attorney to make the appropriate arguments to prove your claim. An experienced auto accident attorney from folgerlaw.com will go to battle with the insurance company to obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call us today for a free initial consultation.