Wearing a seatbelt has more benefits than you might think.

Three Important Reasons to Wear Your Seatbelt in CaliforniaWe all know that we should buckle up every time we get in the car. However, there always seems to be that little voice in the back of your mind that tries to convince you not to bother with the belt. It is very important not to listen to that little voice. Even the shortest trip requires a seatbelt. Here is why.

Seatbelts Save Lives

Of course, the number one reason to always wear your seatbelt is that your seatbelt helps keep you safe in the event of an accident. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelt use reduces the incidence of serious crash-related injuries by about 50 percent. Seatbelts are especially important for preventing individuals from being thrown from a vehicle in the event of an accident. Considering that 75 percent of accident victims who get thrown from a vehicle die, this protection is obviously very valuable. Wearing a seatbelt can also help reduce the severity of injuries in less serious accidents. This is because the seatbelt helps spread the force of an accident over the strongest parts of the body, and also helps keep the body in the ideal position for various other safety features such as airbags to do their job. Unfortunately, data shows that many young adults still do not wear their seatbelts, and in 2012 half of all fatalities of individuals 13 to 20 years old were unbuckled.

It Is the Law

In California, we actually have one of the highest seatbelt use rates in the nation. In large part this is because state law requires everyone in a private vehicle to wear a seatbelt or face legal consequences. A driver caught without a seatbelt can face fines and/or be ordered to attend driving school. Drivers can also be penalized for failing to ensure their passengers have buckled up.

Seatbelts Affect Auto Accident Injury Claims

Another very important reason to wear your seatbelt at all times is that failing to do so could limit your ability to collect full and fair compensation in the event of a car accident. For example, let’s say you were rear-ended at a red light by a careless driver. If you were wearing your seatbelt, 100 percent of the fault for this accident would likely be assigned to the person who rear-ended you. But, if you were not wearing your seatbelt, the judge may assign you partial liability for your own injuries. After all, your failure to wear a seatbelt quite likely caused your injuries to be worse than they would have been otherwise. Any compensation you may win in a personal injury case related to the car accident would have to be reduced by the percentage of your own liability. So for example if your lack of a seatbelt made you 20 percent liable, you would only recover 80 percent of the compensation you asked for in your lawsuit.

This does not mean you should forgo compensation. It just means your case will need to be handled even more carefully by a skilled auto accident injury attorney. If you have been in an auto accident while your seatbelt was unbuckled, call 909-982-0707 for a free initial consultation with Fernando D. Vargas now.