June 19, 2024

Can I Sue if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt?

Can I Sue if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt? | Greenstein & Milbauer


Even the most careful drivers get into accidents sometimes. You can do everything right but can’t always account for the biggest variable: other motorists. In 2021, there were 372,159 car accidents across New York, with 1,068 being fatal and 9,607 causing severe injury.

While wearing a seatbelt won’t prevent every possible injury one could sustain in a car accident, it can reduce the risk of certain damages, such as flying through the windshield, which is often fatal.

The short answer? Yes, you can sue if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, but it may impact the damages you recover in your personal injury case.

New York Seat Belt Regulations

Federal law has required the use of seatbelts since 1968. New York enforces this law to reduce its drivers’ risk of death and injury. In New York, anyone over 8 in a car must be wearing a seatbelt. 

Any child under eight must ride in a booster or car seat. Any child under two must be safely fastened into a rear-facing car seat.

Anyone over the age of 16 found to violate these regulations may be subjected to fines of up to $50. Anyone under 16 may face a fine of up to $100 and, if convicted, given three driver violation points.

How Does Not Wearing a Seatbelt Impact Your Accident Claim?

If you were in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are eligible to file a personal injury case, regardless of your seatbelt infractions. If law enforcement arrives on the accident scene, they may issue you a ticket for violating federal seatbelt regulations. 

You cannot claim compensation for any injuries that could have been avoided if you wore your seatbelt. During your personal injury case, your injuries will be examined thoroughly, and qualified individuals will determine which injuries may have been avoided if you had been wearing your seatbelt.

Most likely, not wearing a seatbelt will significantly reduce the compensation you can receive for your claim. Without the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you could get severely taken advantage of by insurance and the defendant’s legal team.

Finding the Right New York Car Accident Attorney for You

Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP is here to help you understand your options after your accident. We know that humans make mistakes, and just because you weren’t wearing your seatbelt doesn’t mean you deserve compensation for injuries and damage caused by someone else’s careless actions.

We offer free consultations to answer any questions, and ensure that our world-class legal team is the right fit for you. Call us today at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462), or, if you prefer, you can reach us through message, text, or chat on our website.

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