Law Review: Another compelling reason to wear a seat belt – California News

Law Review: Another compelling reason to wear a seat belt – California News

Seatbelts are required in California. However, surprisingly quite a few drivers and passengers don’t always use them.


Since 1975, seat belts have saved over 300,000 lives in the United States alone. When used properly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and prevent ejection from the car. Besides that, it is against the law to not wear a seat belt.


Here is another reason to always wear a seat belt that I bet you have never thought of. This wise tip comes from my partners who handle auto accident cases, which evolve into personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits. Listen up. This may surprise you.

If you are injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own — perhaps you are in a car hit by a negligent driver or are a passenger in a car driven by a negligent driver, i.e. the other person is at fault, not you — your ability to recover money from the negligent driver may be reduced if you are not wearing your seat belt.

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For example, if you were a passenger in a Dodge RAM pickup, and were badly injured in a crash, but were not wearing your seat belt, your recovery could be reduced for that reason alone if not wearing the seat belt contributed to your injuries under the “Failure to Wear a Seatbelt” laws.

That was the case in Housley v. Godinez, where the jury found that the plaintiff-passenger in the pickup who sued, was 30 percent contributorily negligent for not wearing his seat belt, so his damage award was reduced by 30 percent.

In other words, even if you are injured by a negligent…

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