Car Accident Lawyer, Phoenix, AZ
Can I Still File a Lawsuit if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, seek out a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts. You probably have a lot of questions only an experienced car accident attorney can help you answer. For example, you might be wondering, “Can I still file a lawsuit if I wasn’t wearing my seat belt?” The short answer is yes. Read on to learn how you can file a personal injury lawsuit, even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt, and how that might affect your chances of compensation.
The practice of personal injury often falls under the tort law area of negligence. A car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on should be well versed in the area of negligence. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.
For example, Car A runs a red light and hits Car B. As a result, Car B is totaled, and the driver suffers broken arm among other injuries. To recover for damages, Car B will need to show that Car A was negligent. Negligence has four elements that must be met for it to be an effective legal strategy:
- Duty: The driver of Car A owed Car B a duty to drive responsibly.
- Breach of Duty: The driver of Car A breached that duty when they ran the red light.
- Causation: Car A’s breach of duty caused the auto accident.
- Damages: the driver of Car B suffered property damage and personal injury as a result.
But what if the driver of Car B wasn’t wearing a seat belt? Did they somehow contribute to their injuries?
How It Affects A Lawsuit
Car B can still file a negligence lawsuit against Car A, though Car A’s attorneys may argue that the Car B was “Contributorily” or “Comparatively” Negligent. Ultimately, how much you’ll be able to recover will depend on the negligence laws in your state. A top car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ recommends can help you understand the types of defenses in Arizona. Many states allow for contributory and comparative negligence defenses.
Contributory Negligence Defense : This defense allows for a plaintiff to be barred from recovery if the plaintiff is found to have at all acted negligently and contributed to the accident or their own injuries, even if they are just 1% at fault.
Comparative Negligence Defense: This defense allows a plaintiff to recover their damages but reduces them by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. There are three types of comparative negligence.
- Pure Comparative: The plaintiff will receive their total damages, minus their percentage of fault. For example, if Car B is found to be 25% at fault and the damages total $100,000, Car B will only receive $75,000.
- 50% Modified Comparative: The plaintiff will not recover if they are found to be as equally responsible for the accident as the defendant.
- 51% Modified Comparative: The plaintiff will not recover if they are found to be 51% or more responsible for the accident.
Follow the State Law
As a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ endorses might recommend, just wear your seat belt. Every state has different laws regarding seat belt use. You, whether as a driver or as a passenger in someone else’s car, have a responsibility to follow a state’s seat belt laws.
Arizona law states that all front seat passengers must wear a seat belt, and any passenger 16 years old or younger must wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are sitting. By omission, it appears that adults in the backseat aren’t legally obligated to wear a seat belt, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
Also, it’s your life! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes”. So, why not buckle up? It can only help. If you’ve were injured in an auto accident, regardless of whether you were wearing your seat belt, contact the law offices of Kamper Estrada, LLP for a free initial consultation. Our personal injury attorneys have over 40 years of experience in helping eligible plaintiff’s receive compensation. Our knowledgeable staff can help guide you every step of the way. If you’re in need of a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts, contact Kamper Estrada, LLP today for a free initial consultation.