Can I Still File an Auto Accident Injury Claim if I Was Not Wearing a Seat Belt?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Seat belt laws are a great way to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries related to car crashes. The chances of dying in an accident drop by 45%, or your chances of getting injured are reduced by 50% when all drivers and passengers wear a seat belt.
Seat belts save lives and reduce injuries in a car accident, but not everyone wears them when they should. Over half of the adults aged 20-44 and teens aged 13-19 who died in a car crash in 2018 did not wear their seat belts.
When filing an auto accident injury claim, it is important to understand Michigan’s seat belt law and comparative negligence law if you were not wearing a seat belt when the accident happened. A car accident lawyer at our law firm can help you determine if you qualify for reasonable compensation.
Michigan’s Laws on Seat Belt Use
Michigan’s Seat Belt Law states that all drivers and front seat passengers must wear their seat belts whenever they are sitting in a motor vehicle that is being driven on Michigan roadways.
All passengers between the ages of 8 to 15 must wear their seat belts, regardless of seating position. Children under the age of 4 must also ride in the back of the vehicle in a car seat. All children must ride in a car seat or a booster seat until they are 8 years old or reach a height of 4 feet and 9 inches, whichever comes first.
A police officer can stop you if you are not wearing a seat belt in your car. Since not wearing a seat belt is considered a civil infraction, you may have to pay $25 for court costs and $40 for a justice system assessment. If you break the child car seat laws, you will be fined no more than $10 alongside the $40 justice system assessment. Regardless of violating any of these laws, you will not receive any points on your license.
Failing to Use Your Seat Belt Can Reduce Your Compensation
There are usually two types of auto accident claims that Michigan accident victims can make for personal injuries: a no-fault claim, under their own policy, and a third-party claim against the other driver if they caused the accident and injuries.
If you get injured in a car accident and have no-fault benefits, you can still get those benefits from your insurance company even if you did not wear a seat belt.
Not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident doesn’t prevent you from filing an injury claim against the other driver. However, the fact that you did not wear a seat belt in the accident makes you appear negligent, even though your injuries were not your fault.
By placing partial negligence on you for not wearing a seat belt, you may receive up to 5% less compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Michigan
Wearing your seat belt can prevent tragic outcomes if you are in an accident. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a car accident due to a negligent driver, our skilled attorneys can help you learn more about your legal options.
Senior partner Eileen Kroll can offer legal and medical perspectives on your case, helping build an argument surrounding any injuries you sustain.
Call us at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW) to schedule a confidential, free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. You can also fill out our contact form to get in touch with an experienced accident attorney.
Are Michigan back seat passengers required to wear seat belts?
In Michigan, people 16 years old and older do not have to wear seat belts in the back seat. You should still wear one when you are sitting in the rear seat. If a rear seat passenger is not wearing their seat belt, it raises the chance of a driver dying in a crash by 137%.
When do I not have to wear a seat belt?
You do not have to wear a seat belt if you are riding in a bus as a passenger or in a motor vehicle manufactured before January 1, 1965. You are also exempt from the seat belt law if you have a written medical or physical exemption from your doctor saying that you cannot wear a seat belt.
What if my seat belt was also defective?
Some seat belts may have defective latch mechanisms, which cause injuries in an accident. If your seat belt doesn’t work properly and you get hurt, the company that made the belt, or the car it is in, might be responsible, resulting in a possible product liability case.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.