Seat Belt Defense in Car Accident Cases
Georgia law requires an occupant of a motor vehicle to wear a seat belt. Normally, if you are injured in an accident where the other driver was clearly at-fault, the issue of that driver's insurance policy compensating you for your injuries should be fairly clear. However, if you were hurt in a car accident and you were not wearing your seat belt, you may be wondering if you can still recover compensation for your injuries. While insurance companies and at-fault parties will likely raise the “seat belt defense,” in many cases, you can still claim damages even if you were not wearing your seat belt at the time of the accident. Here is more information about overcoming the seat belt defense in Georgia.Raising the Seat Belt Defense in Georgia
When an insurance company or at-fault party raises the seat belt defense, their goal is to reduce—or even eliminate—the amount of damages available to an injured party. However, injury victims are still entitled to receive compensation for damages they would have incurred if they had been wearing their seat belts, even if the seat belt defense is successful.
You can probably imagine it is hard to speculate how an accident—and the resulting injuries—would have been different if the injury victim had been wearing a seat belt. In fact, many states have rejected the seat belt defense for this very reason. Georgia, however, does allow for the possibility of at least some reduction in damages for failure to wear a seat belt.Overcoming the Seat Belt Defense
There are several ways to avoid a reduction in financial damages when the seat belt defense has been raised. One way is to show that while failing to wear a seat belt may have made your injuries worse, the at-fault driver still caused the collision. Likewise, you should not be blamed for failing to mitigate, or lessen, your injuries by not wearing a seat belt. In most cases, mitigation refers to actions you can take after sustaining an injury, and putting on your seat belt after the car accident would obviously do nothing.
As we mentioned above, it is difficult for juries to apply the seat belt defense. The jury will essentially have to guess what injuries you would have sustained if you were wearing a seat belt as compared to what injuries you actually sustained. You can argue that even with an expert opinion, a calculation of this kind is really guesswork, and it is unfair to base compensation on mere conjecture.Contact KWFDM for Help Overcoming the Seat Belt Defense
One of the worst things you can do after an automobile collision is to assume you can’t recover compensation. This is what attorneys are here for, and our legal team will discuss options with you at absolutely no cost. Contact the Georgia car accident lawyers at Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC for your free consultation at (404) 461-0101. All information is kept strictly confidential. We represent clients throughout Georgia, including Atlanta, Rome, Macon, Savannah and Albany.