Nowadays, the vast majority of people use their seat belts as drivers or passengers in a car, and with good reason. According to the website for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), seat belts saved nearly 14,000 lives in 2015, alone. Indeed, Pennsylvania has laws requiring the use of seat belts in nearly all circumstances.
If someone is injured in an automobile accident—but did not have his seatbelt on, what does this mean for his rights as a Philadelphia auto injury victim? While insurance claims adjusters may press the individual to accept lesser compensation for property, pain, suffering, and medical bills, the truth is that the laws of Pennsylvania specifically protect victims in these cases. That’s why victims need experienced counsel on their side.
Always Wear Your Seat Belt—But Also Know the Laws
In Pennsylvania, “contributory negligence” (Pennsylvania General Assembly Statute §7102), states that the negligence of one injured party does not prevent him or her from seeking damages. The key is that the negligence of the victim must be less than the negligence of the opposing party.
Pennsylvania does have strong laws requiring the use of seat belts. That is, if a police officer in Pennsylvania pulls you over for, for example, speeding, and if the driver or a passenger is over 19 years of age and is not wearing a seatbelt, that person can be ticketed.
But that’s not all that the law says. Another Pennsylvania law—Subchapter E of Chapter 45, Title 75 of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes—also says that a seat belt infraction “may not be used by an insurer for any purpose.” This means that regardless of whether an injured victim was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident, she may still bring a claim for damages.
Talk to an Experienced Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorney Now
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident—but did not have a seat belt on at the time of the accident—get experienced, professional counsel now. Contact a Philadelphia attorney who understands auto accident laws. Contact Gabriel Levin, Esq., and The Levin Firm to find out how to best proceed. Call (215) 825-5183 so we can help protect you or your loved one’s rights and interests.