In the United States, more than 1.3 million car accidents happen every year. In many of those accidents, people are seriously injured or killed because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the collision. This blog post will explore seatbelt laws and why failing to wear a seatbelt can have serious consequences on both your insurance claims and liability.
Have you recently been in a crash? The car accident lawyers in Gainesville, GA, are here to help.
When Were Seatbelts Developed?
You might think that seatbelts are logical to include in any vehicle. However, they weren’t always a standard part of cars. It became mandatory for car manufacturers to include U.S. cars starting in 1968 (though those made before that year did not add them).
However, it was not until the 1980s that state laws started to require drivers and passengers to wear them. These laws vary by state; some require just the driver to wear them, others require anyone in the front seats to wear them, and others demand that all people inside the vehicle wear their seatbelt. And to this day, New Hampshire does not legally require them for anyone in a vehicle.
Does Law require seatbelts in Georgia?
In Georgia, wearing a seatbelt isn’t just an advisable habit to get into—it’s the law. Drivers may face fines for not putting on their seatbelts while operating or riding within certain vehicles.
In Georgia, the fine for a first offense of failing to wear your seatbelt or child restraint is $50. However, if you’re ever involved in a no-seatbelt accident, that’s where things can get expensive very quickly.
If You Are in An Accident While Unrestrained by a Seatbelt
As personal injury lawyers in Gainesville, GA, it is always upsetting to find out that a client was not restrained while in a crash. When you’re involved in a car accident, whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt can have huge implications on the outcome of your case.
Suppose there was clear negligence on the part of another driver, such as negligent speeding or reckless driving. In that case, that person may end up held liable for damages to you, including medical bills, pain and suffering (if any), lost wages (past & future), etc.
However, if you are driving a car and are involved in a crash while not wearing your seatbelt, this introduces a gray area into the case. The other insurance company could argue that your injuries are less the other driver’s fault and more the result of your negligence. Additionally, if you or your passengers go airborne and injure others, you could be liable for those injuries.
On top of this, your own insurance company could use this as a reason to deny you compensation. Ultimately, wearing your seatbelt costs you nothing, but failing to do so might cost you everything.
Now that you understand that not wearing a seatbelt could impact your insurance claim, we hope that you will always buckle up while on the road. We also suggest that you read about when to get an attorney for a car accident to better prepare for what the future may bring.