Can I Still Make a Claim if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?
  • Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association
  • Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association, Proud Member
  • Polk County Trial Lawyers Association, Former President
  • Motor Vehicle Top 25 Trial Lawyers
  • BBB A+ Rating
  • Lawyers.com 5.0 Client Rating
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star
  • Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association, Proud Member
  • Florida Justice Association - Eagle Member
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • The Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial

Can I Still Make an Accident Claim if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?

Seat belts are an important safety measure, and should be worn at all times when driving or riding in a vehicle. According to the NHTSA, in 2017, 47% of the 37, 133 people killed in automotive accidents were not wearing a seat belt. Not only does it protect you, but it’s the law in nearly every state, Florida included.

Florida Laws Regarding Seat Belt Usage

Florida statute 316.614 applies to the usage of seat belts on Florida roadways. What the law says:

  • Seat belts are required for all drivers and front seat passengers, regardless of age
  • Children under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt even if they are in the back seat

There are exceptions to the rule, such as medical conditions that would make seat belt usage dangerous.

How Seat Belt Usage Affects Insurance Claims

The fact that you were not wearing a seat belt does not negate your ability to file a claim if you are involved in a car accident. Since Florida operates under a standard of pure comparative negligence, fault is assigned in percentages to each party based on the role they played in the accident.

If it is determined that your failure to wear a seat belt made your injuries 30% worse, then you would simply be assigned 30% of the fault for any injuries you sustained. This means that you can still make a claim for the remaining 70%.

A Seat Belt Would Not Have Stopped the Accident

Whether or not you were wearing your seat belt, you wouldn’t have sustained any injuries if you had not been in a crash. While the use of a seat belt could affect how severe your injuries turned out to be, it would not have kept you from being in a car accident.

This is where the pure comparative negligence standard is extremely beneficial.

Since the use of a seat belt is only one of many safe driving practices, your percentage of fault is only increased by the degree to which wearing a seat belt would have lessened your injuries. This is heavily dependent on the other factors of the crash, like traveling speed and the type of collision (t-bone, rear end, etc.)

However, this does not mean that seat belts are not important or that they should not be worn. Seat belts are an extremely important and often lifesaving safety feature. In fact, the FLHSMV reports that wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of injury or death in a car accident by nearly 50%.

Wearing one is always the best and safest option. However, we’re all human and mistakes happen. Sometimes people simply forget to fasten their seat belt, or make the mistake of not using it for a number of reasons. This just means that even if you mess up and don’t wear your seat belt, you are still entitled to fair compensation for your car accident.

If you have further questions, or you have been involved in a car accident in central Florida, contact us at 1-800-ASK-DAVE. We’re here to help!

WHY DISMUKE LAW?

  • Decades of Experience

    Dave has dedicated 15 years and a significant portion of his practice to auto accidents and has well-trained staff in place to help you.

  • We Treat Clients with Excellent Personal Service, Respect & Dignity

    Our core belief is that every detail must be studied, that every adversary must be out prepared and outworked and that every client must be treated like they are family.

  • Personal Injury is All We Do

    Dave is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and focuses his practice on automobile accidents.

Still Have questions?

Watch Our Videos to Learn More
/

Testimonials

Hear What Our Clients Have to Say
  • Dave and his staff worked hard for me and always did what was in my best interest.

    “I would definitely recommend him to anyone who needs representation.”

    - Rena S.
  • Dismuke Law is who I will use for the rest of my life. Definitely worth the phone call!

    “I recommend him to friends and family every chance I get.”

    - Shawn B.
  • Dismuke Law is the first place we would call. They did not disappoint!

    “If either myself or my son ever needed an attorney again, Dismuke Law is the first place we would call.”

    - Daniel R.
  • Dismuke Law delivered the results I was hoping for.

    “David and his team were great at keeping me informed and involved in the entire process for my case. I highly recommend Dismuke Law.”

    - Jessie S.
  • I would highly recommend Dismuke Law to anyone in need of a personal injury lawyer.

    “David's attention to detail, honesty, and caring attitude toward clients, staff, fellow colleagues, and others is what makes him one of the best lawyers in Polk County.”

    - Courtney A.
/

Proven Track Record of Success

  • $10 Million Judgment - Polk County

    Judgment of $10 million for a client due to injuries sustained in an auto accident.

  • $7.25 Million Jury Verdict - Polk County

    Polk County jury awards judgment for wrongful death case.

  • $1.1 Million Settlement - Hillsborough County

    Wrongful death auto accident settlement for $1,100,000.

  • $800 Thousand Auto Accident Settlement - Hillsborough County

    Attorney David C. Dismuke negotiates a settlement in disputed causation surgery.

  • $754 Thousand Auto Accident Settlement - Hardee County

    Attorney David C. Dismuke obtains a verdict in Hardee County.

/
We Remove the Fear  of Going Through the Process of a Personal Injury Claim

The team at Dismuke Law understands how our clients are affected by accidents and brings that empathy to the courtroom and settlement table every day.