State and federal laws are complex, and rulings are not always as black and white as you might think. Naturally, people who have suffered car accidents in Louisiana ask their lawyers about how they can get compensation. Accident victims need compensation for their damages and injuries, and rightfully so. Things become more complex when an accident victim suffered injuries because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of their accident. Many people worry that, since they weren’t wearing their seatbelt when the crash happened, that their claim will be negatively affected and they won’t be able to get a settlement.
If you got into any kind of car or truck accident in Louisiana and were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash, it is unfortunately true that the amount of compensation you may receive will be affected. You will likely earn less than you wanted. This is due to the fact that the injuries you sustained would have been far less severe had you been wearing your seatbelt. Still, despite the fact that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, which is technically illegal, you can still seek compensation for the accident. A lawyer can help.
What Is Louisiana Seat Belt Law?
According to Louisiana state law, each driver of a passenger car, van, sports utility vehicle, or truck having a gross weight of twenty-six thousand pounds or less in this state shall have a safety belt properly fastened about his or her body at all times when the vehicle is in forward motion – with no exceptions.
Anyone who violates this Section of Louisiana state law will be subject to penalties. Penalties for failure to wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle include:
- A fine of $50 for a first offense, with no court appearance.
- A fine of $75 for a second offense, with no court appearance.
- A fine of $75 plus all costs of court for a third or subsequent offense. Fines will increase by $20 each time a subsequent offense occurs.
Driving without a seatbelt on is illegal for a reason. Driving with a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of physical harm to not just the person wearing the seatbelt, but others involved in the crash as well. Always buckle up in the car, as one can never expect when a car accident will happen.
How Will Not Wearing A Seatbelt Affect My Insurance Claim?
Your insurance claim will most likely be negatively affected if you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of your car accident. The insurance company that represents the at-fault driver will use the fact that you were not using your seatbelt to reduce the compensation you can be entitled to because of your injuries.
The reason for this is that seatbelts are, of course, designed to keep you safe in the event of a car accident. Let’s say, for example, an individual suffered a car accident (where they weren’t wearing a seatbelt) and consequently suffered physical injuries. Perhaps the injured driver broke an arm, had a concussion, and needed stitches. One could argue that if you were obeying the law and wearing your seatbelt, you wouldn’t have suffered as much damage and therefore would not receive such a high settlement.
This is a tough position to be in, as that’s a strong defense for the opposing party to wield. For this reason, contact a lawyer as soon as you have been involved in a car accident where you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Talking with one of our car accident lawyers can help you with your situation, and filing a personal injury claim can help you recover from your car accident even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
Is It Worth It To Hire A Lawyer If I Didn’t Wear A Seatbelt At The Time Of My Accident?
It’s always worth it to consult with a lawyer to determine what legal options you can take following a car accident. Even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you may have the option to hold the at-fault party accountable for what you’ve suffered. Sometimes, insurance companies do not pay out the amount of compensation you deserve. Our law firm can hold those insurance companies accountable to make sure you are treated fairly and with respect.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with The Law Office of Glenn C. McGovern today if you’ve been involved in a car accident in Louisiana of any kind. With the right attorney, you can defend yourself before a judge and prove that you’re deserving of compensation to cover the cost of your damages.