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Why Wearing a Seatbelt is Important to Your Car Accident Case


Close Up of people woman hand fastening seat safety belt in car

Wearing a seatbelt is vital to your safety and can also play an important role in Florida car accident cases. Not only can someone else be held responsible for your injuries, but you can also share liability. 

If you’re severely injured in a car accident (while not wearing a seatbelt) caused by another driver’s negligence, a court could rule that you partly caused your injuries. In that case, even if your car accident lawyer “wins” your case, your settlement could be substantially lowered based on the percentage of injuries that were self-inflicted. 

It’s always a good idea to wear a seatbelt. However, if you suffer significant injuries in an accident while not wearing one, you can still potentially recover damages. 

Understanding Florida’s laws on no-fault insurance, comparative negligence,  contributory negligence, and the seat belt defense typically requires an experienced car accident lawyer. 

Contact Schrier Law Group Today to learn how we can help you recover maximum damages under your unique circumstances. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of wearing a seatbelt in your car accident case

What Injuries Can You Get From Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

Colliding with a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds can cause significant injuries. That’s even truer if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. Typical injuries associated with not buckling your seatbelt include, but are not limited to: 

  • Internal bleeding 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Whiplash 
  • Paralysis 
  • Back and neck injuries 
  • Broken bones 
  • Permanent disfigurement

Suppose you get into a car accident (caused by another driver) while not wearing a seatbelt. In that case, it can be challenging for a judge or jury to decide what actually caused your injuries. Was it the crash or that you didn’t have on a seatbelt? Typically, cases like this require an experienced car accident lawyer and expert medical witnesses. 

Understanding Florida Negligence Laws

According to Florida Statute § 768.81, Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state. That means you can still recover damages even if you were partly at fault for the accident. With that in mind, a court may deem that your injuries were worsened due to neglect to follow Florida seatbelt laws. 

In that case, your judgment would be decreased by the amount of your liability. For example, if the court finds that you were 25 percent responsible for your injuries, you can expect 75 percent of the initial recovery amount. 

How The Seat Belt Defense Can Derail Your Case

In most Florida car accident cases, the defendant and plaintiff are assigned a percentage of the responsibility for the collision and subsequent injuries. However, if a judge or jury believes you contributed to your injuries, it can significantly affect potential judgments. 

In Florida, not wearing a seatbelt can be considered contributory negligence (i.e., the seatbelt defense). Depending on the facts of the case, the defendant’s insurer or car accident lawyer may assert that the plaintiff is partially at fault for their injuries. 

If they are successful in their argument, it can drastically lower the total damages awarded in car accident cases. Generally, an insurer must prove the following facts to assert the seatbelt defense successfully: 

  • There was an available and functioning seat that the plaintiff neglected to use. 
  • Their refusal to wear a seatbelt was unreasonable according to the situation. 
  • The plaintiff’s decision not to wear a seatbelt significantly contributed to their injuries. 

Can I Still Recover Damages If I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt? 

You can still potentially recover financial compensation even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. However, it will make your car accident lawyer’s job significantly more challenging. 

Generally, individuals who suffer serious injuries resulting from the negligence of another driver are eligible to pursue the following damages (regardless if they wore a seatbelt or not):

  • Medical bills
  • Cost of rehabilitation 
  • Lost income
  • Permanent disfigurement 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish 
  • Loss of joy 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait until the Florida statute of limitations expires before pursuing your case. Learn how a car accident lawyer at Schrier Law Group can help below. 

Contact A Proven Car Accident Lawyer

Not wearing a seatbelt can be detrimental to a plaintiff’s goal of maximum compensation. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Depending on the facts of the case, your car accident lawyer may be able to pinpoint other factors that led to your injuries, thus leading to a more favorable result. Contact Schrier Law Group today at 1-800-700-7285 for your free case review. 

Read Our Reviews

Schrier Law Group is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 22 review(s).


My name is David and I’ve been represented by mr. Schrier law firm twice in my life and I got nothing more then good things to say about them they are very professional and they really Take their clients I really recommend them every time I called them they were always there for me especially the attorney he’s very professional and he got me the money did I deserve by representing me and fighting for me I will use their services again them no questions asked if I ever need them to me they are the best God bless them all

David Cuello


The firm is super professional and handled my husbands vas amazingly. I should refer them to some in need of an attitude.

Isabel Sabrina De Ramirez


The Schrier Law Group are hands down the best and should be your go to for all your legal troubles. They are such professionals; efficient, persistent and don’t take no for an answer. Thank you so much Chatriece, Geissie, Paul & everyone at Schrier Law Group for your patience and making my win possible!

Marika Ford


Shrier Law Group extremely thorough. A really caring Law Firm. My previous lawyer sat on my case for 2 years did nothing with it by chance came across Mr Paul schreier firm and explaining my case he noticed I was not hopeful but he was able to encoirage me and was able to resolve my case within a year I'm so grateful for Mr Paul Schrier and Mrs Chatrice. They go above and beyond. 20⭐

West Jean


I must say that Mr. Schrier was there when we needed immediate advice after my wife got rear-ended by an unlicensed speeding lunatic. We called a handful of attorneys in our area, but after waiting 2- 5 days they would drop her case. We found Mr Schrier online and he explained the pros/cons and he took the case. We waited patiently, and in time he was able to tracked down the actual owners of the car and get their auto insurance info!

Gerard Avalos


The firm pays close attention to locating every possible insurer liable for my injuries. They return my calls in 24-48 hours. Friendly staff who care.

Mr K


Attention to detail with the different insurance coverages. Returned my phone calls, which is very important.

David Kuczenski


I was involved in an auto accident in January 2016. We decided to contact Paul K. Schrier, PLLC for legal advice. He never got annoyed with me calling to ask questions, which was quite often. We have finally reached the final stages of this case, which they handled very well, and have come to a settlement. I highly recommend the Florida personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC, especially Paul K. Schrier to any one who needs a personal injury attorney. Thank you very much Paul for everything you have done do me.

Martin Tyler


I called to ask some question about a car accident I was in. I spoke to Paul who was very helpful, honest and professional. It seems that he really care about clients. I appreciate all that Paul did and would certainly recommend to anyone who needs an attorney.

Mark Anderson


Best attorney around , I went through a lot of different ones before finding his law firm very professional and they make sure you get paid what you deserve, highly recommend.

Braulio Duran


Thank Paul for everything your personal injury law firm has done for my case as well as my daughter. Thanks for all the hard work and attention. Thanks again!

Maria Jaz


This is one of the best law office in Miami come in and check them out great people

Rowdy Martinez


Best attorney in South Florida

Fefe Alex


Was a wonderful experience getting through a tough process!

Edward Pawley


Both my wife and I feel grateful for the treatment and the professionalism of the staff. Maritza is great doing her job. It is the second time that I request your services and we are pleased and grateful. Many blessings to this Law Firm

Reynier Perez


Awesome wonderful patient Intelligent thoughtful Paul is the best

Theresa Caprice Caprioli


Thank you so much for going above and beyond what I had ever anticipated. It was truly a pleasure to work with you all, especially Chatrice. I will most definitely refer The Schrier Law Group to my family and friends.

Cat Breen


The Schrier LG is an excellent firm! They accepted my case, provided me with all the procedural information, maintained a high level of professionalism while showing kindness and care. The doctor's office that they suggested is another group of kind and considerate individuals, dedicated to my full recovery. I would recommend the Schrier Group to friends, just as they were recommended to me. I am happy with my settlement and very pleased with the attention and diligence of the group as a whole. Thank you again!

Michaela Davis


Mr. Paul Schrier is by far the best attorney for the job! He is very responsive, knowledgeable, and very efficient. Despite my very busy schedule, he kept me informed throughout the process. I am very please with the outcome of my case. The customer service I received from the entire team has been amazing! Thank you all so much!

Ms. Jean


Not only did I get a phenomenal attorney to represent me in my case, but I also got a step by step education on how the legal process actually worked. I was encouraged to ask questions and be an informed client. I was never treated like a case. I truly felt like the advice and recommendations he gave to me would have been the same he would have pursued if he were the client. That was important to me. I needed to work with an attorney I could trust with my best interest in mind...and that is what I got with Paul Schrier.

Juan Rodriquez


Schrier Law Group is the best.

Chatrice Telfort


Great job! I loved working with Paul.