Being in an automobile accident can be a frightening experience. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, but there is one factor that could affect your claim: whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Let’s explore how not wearing a seatbelt might affect your claim.
Iowa Law and Seatbelts
In Iowa, it is legally required for all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while in a vehicle. This means that if you are involved in an accident and are not wearing your seatbelt at the time, you may face civil or criminal penalties from law enforcement officers. Additionally, not wearing a seatbelt can be used against you in a personal injury case. In some cases, victims who were not wearing their seatbelts when they were involved in an accident may receive fewer damages than those who were properly restrained.
In some states, including Iowa, the comparative fault standard may be used as an argument against plaintiffs who are seeking compensation for injuries sustained during an automobile accident. This legal statute essentially states that if you contributed to causing your own injury — in this case, by not wearing a seatbelt — then you can be considered partially at fault for your injury, and your damages can be reduced.
Not wearing a seatbelt does not mean that victims will automatically lose out on any potential compensatory damages related to an automobile accident; instead, what it means is that defendants can try to use this fact as evidence of contributory negligence when attempting to reduce or eliminate any potential awards from personal injury claims related to automotive accidents where victims were not properly restrained with their safety belts.
It is important to note, however, that even if defendants are able to prove contributory negligence on behalf of the plaintiff (i.e., victim), there may still be other avenues available through which compensation can still be sought depending on the specific circumstances surrounding each individual’s case. A qualified personal injury lawyer should always be consulted prior to filing suit so that all options can be explored before proceeding with litigation.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it’s important for everyone—drivers and passengers alike—to remember how essential it is to buckle up every single time before getting into the car. At Hope Law Firm, we are passionate about helping our clients seek the compensation they need to move forward after an accident.
Were you in a car accident? Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today to learn more about how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.