The numbers don’t lie—seat belts are the most effective safety device in your vehicle. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who sustain fatal injuries in motor-vehicle collisions are not restrained at the time of the crash.
Seat belts also reduce the risk of serious injuries for those who are fortunate enough to survive the force of impact. Among drivers and front-seat passengers, researchers have determined that wearing a safety belt reduces the risk of injuries by 50 percent.
Even if you’re an experienced driver who obeys all traffic laws, you risk sustaining a serious injury every time you forget to buckle up. All it takes is one reckless or distracted driver to cause a devastating collision that has lifelong consequences, and if you’re not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, you may be considered partially liable for your damages.
If you were hurt in a wreck—whether or not you were wearing a seat belt—your first call should be to a doctor, and your second should be to a personal injury lawyer. Attorney Scott Charnas has been successfully handling personal injury and wrongful death cases in New York and Massachusetts for more than 25 years. Call 212-980-6800 to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in Massachusetts.
Read on for a brief overview of Massachusetts seat belt laws and how they could affect your personal injury claim:
Seat Belt Laws in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts has secondary seat belt laws that apply to vehicle occupants who are at least 13 years old. That means officers cannot conduct a traffic stop simply because you are not wearing a seat belt; however, if they pull you over for some other reason, they can cite you for violating the seat belt law. First offenders face a fine of $25.
Negligence Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts courts use a comparative negligence system when awarding compensation in personal injury cases. Claimants may be able to recover compensation if they were less than 51 percent liable for their accident. If you were partially liable, your monetary award will be reduced by your own percentage of fault.
If you were hurt in a collision while not wearing a seat belt, you may still be able to recover a settlement as long as you can prove that the opposing party’s negligence contributed to the wreck; however, if it is clear that not wearing a seat belt contributed to the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to recover compensation for 100 percent of your damages.
Call 212-980-6800 to Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Massachusetts
If you were hurt in a car accident that was not your fault but you were not wearing a seat belt at the time, turn to Charnas Law Firm. Attorney Scott Charnas will evaluate the case from all angles to help you build the strongest claim possible against all liable parties. Call 212-980-6800 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts.