What You Should Know About Seatbelts and Personal Injury
More than likely, most New Jersey drivers know that seatbelts are mandatory for every private passenger vehicle. Seatbelt laws do not just pertain to the driver and front seat passenger. They are also a requirement for those seated in the back seat of a car. Nevertheless, some take a chance and go without the restraints. Here’s what you should know about seatbelts and personal injury.
The Statistics Regarding Safety Restraints
Let’s take a look at some statistics. According to Traffic Safety Facts prepared by the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelt usage was estimated at approximately 87% in 2013. The number was quite similar to the percentage of individuals who used safety restraints in 2012. This still leaves a number of people who are not taking the time to buckle up for safety. The reasons vary from hating the feeling of confinement to outright laziness. Some are even convinced that a seatbelt could actually contribute to personal injury.
How many lives have seatbelts saved? The American Automobile Association reports that safety restraints saved 12,802 lives in 2014. Of course, this number only deals with fatalities. There are an astounding number of individuals who suffered severe personal injuries that were directly correlated with their failure to wear a seatbelt. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that seatbelts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
Are there Dangers of Seatbelts?
Some claim that they refuse to buckle up because of the threat of danger associated with seatbelts. Here are some of the stated concerns:
- Fear of entrapment in fire or water (only a small percentage of accidents involve either)
- Feeling that the restraints could cause injury (seldom comparable to the harm without them)
- Preference for being thrown clear from the vehicle (landing could cause fatality or more serious injuries)
Failing to Use a Seatbelt could Impact Your Claim
If nothing else convinces you to wear a seatbelt, perhaps the risk of economic loss will make you more cognizant of buckling up on a regular basis. Even if the car crash was not your fault, the insurance company or their attorneys may bring up the fact that you failed to use safety restraints. Of course, this means they would also need to prove that this caused your injuries to be worse. The court could decide to lessen your award for personal injury damages. Fortunately, this does not mean you would not receive any compensation if eligible otherwise.
Involvement in any type of automobile accident can cause devastating injuries. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have handled these types of claims for nearly three decades. Contact us to discuss your legal options.