Making Changes To Your Life

Not Wearing A Seat Belt And How It Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

by Kristin Hawkins

Failure to mitigate, also known as failure to minimize damages, is a legal concept that can arise in the context of auto accidents. It refers to the injured party's obligation to take reasonable steps to minimize the extent of their injuries after an accident occurs. For example, if a victim failed to use safety restraints and is involved in a car accident, that might be seen as a failure to mitigate. Read on to find out more. 

What Is Failure to Mitigate?

Other examples of failure to mitigate include:

  • Failure to move the vehicle (if possible) from the roadway and failure to physically remain a safe distance from the roadway.
  • Not seeking medical treatment after being hurt in an auto accident.
  • Failure to follow the doctor's orders after being seen for treatment.

If it can be shown that a victim potentially made their injuries worse, it can negatively affect the compensation. If you failed to use a seat belt, your injuries could be far worse than if you did. 

Failure to Wear Safety Restraints

In many states, the failure to wear a seat belt can have an impact on an accident victim's ability to receive compensation, even if the accident was not their fault. The reasoning behind this is often based on the concept of "contributory negligence" or "comparative negligence," which refers to the extent to which a person's own actions contributed to their injuries in an accident. If a person's failure to wear a seat belt is determined to have contributed to their injuries or made them worse, it could potentially affect the compensation they can receive.

Contributory Negligence

In states that follow the principle of contributory negligence, if an accident victim is deemed to be partially liable for their injuries, they may not be allowed to recover any compensation from other parties involved in the accident, regardless of the other parties' level of fault. This means that if the victim's failure to wear a seat belt is deemed to have contributed to their injuries, they may not be able to seek compensation from the other negligent parties.

Comparative Negligence

In states that follow the principle of comparative negligence, the amount of compensation an accident victim can recover is proportionally reduced based on their level of fault. If it is determined that not wearing a seat belt contributed to the severity of their injuries, their compensation may be reduced accordingly.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law in your state to get accurate and up-to-date information on how the failure to wear a seat belt can affect compensation. For more information, contact a car accident lawyer near you.