The state of Arizona requires you to wear a safety belt at all times while in a motor vehicle. Seat belts save thousands of lives every year.
That being said, safety belts are not perfect, and car accident seat belt injuries are more common than you might think. Wearing safety belts improperly during or before an accident accounts for many of these injuries but not all of them.
If you were wearing your seat belt properly at the time of an accident but still sustained seat belt injuries, you may be able to hold the person who caused the accident liable for your injuries. Alternatively, if your seat belt malfunctioned during the accident through no fault of your own, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible.
What Is a Car Accident Seat Belt Injury in Phoenix, AZ?
Newton’s first law of motion tells us that an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by a large enough force. In the event of a crash, your car may come to a stop, but your body will keep moving at its previous speed through space. Ideally, your seat belt should safely bring your body to a stop along with your vehicle.
However, the seat belt can put enormous pressure on your body during a car accident, especially in the event of a sudden stop. This pressure commonly results in injuries such as whiplash, bruising, internal bleeding, and in extreme cases, broken bones.
When passengers do not properly wear their seat belts, these injuries can be more severe. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to complications from improperly placed seat belts. Young children should always use the proper child seat for their age and size, and pregnant women should wear the seat belt around their hips (not stomach) at all times.
Seat Belt Liability After an Accident in Arizona
If you are an Arizona resident, you probably already know that this state is a comparative fault state. This term means that you are only responsible for however much of the accident is deemed your fault. As such, if a court determines that the accident was 0% your fault, then the other party (or parties) involved may be legally responsible for your seat belt injuries. However, if you were 100% responsible for the accident, you may be liable for the other parties’ seat belt injuries.
Similarly, if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident or if you were wearing your seatbelt improperly, the court may determine that your injuries are 100% your fault. The same is true if the other parties involved were not wearing their seat belts properly. Check out our seat belt laws page here.
If you are driving with a child in the car, you will be held liable for that child’s safety if they are not using the proper safety seat and belt. In fact, the driver is liable for any passengers under the age of 16 who are not wearing a seat belt. Any passengers over the age of 16 are responsible for their own safety belts.
Seat Belt Malfunctions in Phoenix
Today, seat belt malfunctions are rare, but they do still happen from time to time, especially in vehicles with recalls on certain parts. If you believe your seat belt did not function properly in the event of an accident, you should contact a legal professional as soon as possible to investigate your claim.
If you or a family member has been a victim of car accident seat belt injuries, contact Folger Law at (602) 774-0033 today to start your free case evaluation.