Injury Claims: The Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt
Seatbelts can help to save lives. They are important safety features that, like air bags, help to protect a driver or passenger in a collision and minimize injuries. Those who do not wear their seatbelts while in a vehicle put themselves at greater risk of severe injury or even death. In addition to this higher injury risk, not wearing a seatbelt could also hurt your insurance claim should you be involved in an accident.
Making a Claim
When you are hurt in an accident, it is important to contact your car insurance provider as soon as possible and report your injuries and damages. In some states, the fact that you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the collision can become a major deciding factor in how much money you are offered in a settlement. Likewise, if another driver is at fault for the accident, the other insurance company may reduce the amount of money paid to you through liability coverage.
When you do not wear your seatbelt in the car, you expose yourself to the possibility of being severely injured in ways that would be prevented by wearing a seatbelt. Therefore, if you are injured and are not strapped in at the time of the collision, the insurance company considers you to be at least partially at fault for your own injuries.
This is called comparative negligence, and your provider or the other party’s insurance provider may use this argument to reduce the total payment that you are offered after an accident.
Besides the obvious consequence of facing severe injury or death, not wearing your seatbelt can have other costly ramifications if you are involved in an accident. Since some states allow insurance companies to hold you partially responsible for your own injuries and reduce your total settlement, you may also be burdened with paying substantial medical costs on your own.
Head and spine injuries that are caused by failing to wear a seatbelt can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills, which could lead to a lifetime of debt and possibly bankruptcy.
To minimize your risk of harm in an accident and to ensure that you are compensated for the full extent of your injuries, it is strongly recommended that you wear your seatbelt in a vehicle at all times. Likewise, it is important to be fully insured in case of an accident to protect you from accident liability and ensure that your injuries and damages are covered.