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Auto Accident 6.14.2023

What if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt in My MI Car Accident?

Understanding Michigan Seat Belt Laws

Michigan’s primary seat belt law means police can stop and ticket motorists solely for not wearing a seat belt. In Michigan law requires:

  • Passengers 8-15 to buckle up in all seating positions
  • Drivers and front seat passengers to be buckled up

Michigan's child passenger safety law requires:

  • Children younger than age 4 to ride in a car seat in the rear seat if the vehicle has a rear seat. If all available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in a car seat in the front seat. Children are only permitted to ride in the front seat with a rear facing car seat only if the airbag is turned off.
  • Children to be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. Children must ride in a car seat until age 8 or grow to 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first.

Seatbelts are intended to protect occupants of motor vehicle  accidents from the all too often fatal or severe injuries for those involved. Those people not wearing a seat belt are vulnerable to injury at the time a collision occurs. However, what if you are not wearing a seat belt when another driver caused a vehicle accident? Does the failure to wear a seat belt affect a car accident personal injury claim you have against the other driver?

Yes, if you are not wearing a seatbelt your damages will automatically be reduced by 5% in a Michigan car accident injury case. Knowing whether or not the failure to wear a seat belt can affect your insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver is not as important as saving your life. So always wear a seat belt.

Seat Belts Are Known To Save Lives

While seat belts can cause some injuries when they engage, the data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that the seat belt usage for Americans motorists across this country was at 90.3% during the recent year of data. The NHTSA claims that seat belt use in passenger vehicles saves around 15,000 lives each year in the United States. The NHTSA asserts that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injuries by 45% and the risk of moderate to severe injuries by 50% or more.

In the state of Michigan, all drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts when they are in a moving vehicle. There are some exceptions to Michigan’s seat belt law, such as people 16 years of age or older to are not required to wear them when they are riding in the back of a car or truck. Be aware that individuals can be fined if police see you are not wearing a restraint.

If Not Wearing a Seat Belt – What Happens With Your Personal Injury Claim

Michigan sometimes runs a buckle up Michigan campaign to promote the use of seat belts. During the buckle up campaign, law enforcement looks for motorists not wearing their seat belts. The fine could cost you $65. To Avoid the fine and reduce your chance of injury or death in a crash, you are encouraged to buckle up.

However, if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and you were involved in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, you can be certain that this will be argued to reduce your damages award by 5% when it comes to your personal injury compensation claim. The auto insurance carriers or the attorneys for the other at fault driver will do anything they can to limit how much money they pay out in a settlement to you. In their strategy to reduce your claim they will be working to find any evidence that can prove that you did not take the steps necessary to protect yourself from injuries.

Michigan is one of the states where the failure to wear a seat belt is part of the comparative fault system that can be used against you when you are seeking to recover compensation through a settlement. The theory here is that, by failing to wear a seat belt, an individual is not taking the preventative measures necessary to keep themselves from sustaining an injury in the event of a collision. However, even though seat belts must be worn in Michigan, seat belt evidence cannot completely bar your claim against the at faul driver in a car accident case in this state. Michigan is one of fifteen (15) states that allow a reduction your damages as a plaintiff’s for not having a seat belt on at the time of an accident.

We want to be very clear about this – even though the defendant in a personal injury claim will most certainly try to use your lack of wearing a seat belt against you, this can only reduce you damages recovery by 5% of your compensation from the at-fault party.

Need Skilled Sealt Belt Car Accident Lawyers In Michigan?

If you sustain an injury in a vehicle accident caused by another driver but were not wearing a seat belt when the collision occurred, you should speak to a skilled car accident injury attorney in Detroit who can help you handle every aspect of your claim. Call 866-HIRE-JOE for a free case review and consultation to get an opinion about your legal options and rights.

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The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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