In Florida, Statute 316.614 requires front seat occupants over the age of 18 to wear a seat belt. Your car accident case can suffer if you don’t follow the law. Even if someone is over the age of 18 and is a back seat passenger, thus not required to wear a seat belt under Florida law, and is injured, the defense can argue that even if it is not required one was available and should have been worn. Thus, the injured or deceased person is at fault at least in part for not wearing one. Seat belts are serious business, and not just for limiting the amount of money you receive in an auto accident.
If you or your passengers weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of a car accident and are injured, the injured parties may receive less compensation. Defense lawyers can use what’s called a seat belt defense, arguing that you wouldn’t have been injured, or as severely injured, had you been following Florida law and wearing your seat belt. This would have the effect of lessening the percentage of fault for the other driver. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means your negligence could have a serious impact on your final settlement, even if you didn’t cause the accident. Percentage-wise, if the jury found you to be 60% responsible for your own injuries, through negligently failing to wear a seat belt, you would only receive 40% of your fair compensation from the driver who hit you.
Just in case you needed more reasons to wear seat belts! Be safe and buckle up.