This year has brought into effect a flurry of new laws passed the previous year, many of which are intended to affect the safety of drivers on the road. One such candidate is the requirement that all occupants of cars, trucks, and vans must wear seatbelts.
While it may come as a surprise to many that this is a “new” development, prior to January 1st of this year, passengers in the back seats of cars were not required to wear seatbelts — this was only optional.
While the usefulness of this law from a general safety standpoint can hardly be debated, this new detail is also important to many attorneys practicing in personal injury law, because it provides an incentive to hopefully decrease preventable injuries. Also, many backseat passengers injured in auto accidents have previously assumed that because they weren’t breaking the law by not wearing a seatbelt that this means that they will automatically be able to recover for their injuries.
This, however, was not (and is not) the case. Civil lawsuits for negligence look to whether conduct was “reasonable” — a different standard than whether conduct was “legal,” and it is often the case that not wearing a seatbelt stood a good chance of decreasing (if not outright eliminating) an injured victim’s chances of compensation.
Fortunately, with the new seatbelt law, there is no longer any real confusion about the proper protocol for any passengers in a car. And with greater clarity, hopefully, comes more predictable results, which will allow injured victims more likelihood of success when the proper procedures are followed.
You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have anyquestions and to learn how we may be able to help you in the unfortunate event of an accident that caused you or your family or friends injuries – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.