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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 & Mildenhall 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.

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I was in a head-on collision last year that put me in a wheelchair with a fractured femur. I needed an attorney and my cousin recommended this firm because he had used Briant Mildenhall for his accident. I was glad I called Briant because he always did what he said he would do and kept me informed. We settled with the insurance company and I'm happy with the result. If someone I know needs an attorney, I will tell them to call Briant because he will get the job done. Michael G.
After a head–on collision I had extremely serious injuries to my back and neck, and some internal injuries. I was airlifted to the hospital and started a huge amount of medical expenses accumulating. I hired a lawyer recommended by a friend but I was not satisfied. My cousin told me about this firm so I talked to Briant Mildenhall about handling the case. I was at ease from the get–go. Briant kept me informed all the way through, was always reassuring and did everything he said he would do. He helped us get the money we needed to get the treatment we needed. Briant was fantastic! Ronda W. (Car Accident)
I was in a car accident that was complicated from the start. I looked on the internet and called a few different lawyers but they turned me down after they heard my story. When I called this firm Lyn Dodson asked me to talk to her in person. I met with Lyn and Rob Katz and after hearing my story they were confident I had a case. They vigorously pursued my case and over time we built a trusting relationship. Lyn even took time to help me with the traffic issues and other aspects of the case. They were always on my side and talked to me about the advantages and disadvantages of my options... Robert W. (Car Accident)
After my car accident, I was looking for an attorney and came across the name Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC. My intuition told me to call. I called in and Briant Mildenhall talked to me. He was very clear and honest about my options. As the case went forward, Briant and the staff at the law office always answered my questions right away. I was very confident in Briant's legal ability. He kept me informed every step of the way. I would recommend Mr. Mildenhall and the firm to anyone who needs an attorney. Antonio J. (Car Accident)
I would recommend the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC. Lyn Dodson was my attorney after my auto accident. I had confidence in her legal abilities and experience. She did a very good job for me. She was always there to answer the many questions I asked. The firm is very professional. Lyn always gave you her undivided attention. The firm, especially Lyn, worked with you like a long time friend. Joe B. (Auto Accident)
I am 100% satisfied. I called Rob the day after the accident. Everything he said that would happen did, every step of the way. He went beyond what we needed him to do. I would definitely use him again and recommend him to anyone who needs a lawyer. Steve H.
Robert Katz isn't your average personal injury lawyer. He has specialized knowledge and experience that the others don't. Timothy W. (Trucking Accident)
I have nothing but good and positive things to say about Rob. One of the unique things about my case was that I was involved in a bicycle accident with another biker. He took an unorthodox case between two bicycle riders and he could see the logic and liability in it. I was very happy with the result. Rodney H. (Bicycle Accident)
We just loved him to death. He acted like he cared about us, not just our case. He kept us posted on everything. He even called us on Sundays to update us. My case involved a rear-end collision where I had herniated disks and I had had a prior back injury. Complicated as it was, we were very happy with the outcome. Kathy H. (Car accident)
Throughout the course of my case, Mr. Katz kept me informed about its status, returned my telephone calls and was very attentive to my needs and concerns. Simply put, he cared not just about my case, but about me. Joseph B.
I was, and still am, extremely satisfied with Rob's work and with the outcome of my case. Rob strives to be there for his clients, and I was no exception...I would happily recommend Rob to anyone who is seeking legal assistance after suffering a severe injury. Joey E.
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