Although your failure to wear a seatbelt won’t prevent you from filing car accident claim in an effort to recover compensation for your injuries, it can impact the amount you are afforded. Read on below to find out why and what you can do to ensure you are fairly compensated following the occurrence of a car crash in Gary, IN.
According to Indiana Code 9-10-10-2, “each occupant of a motor vehicle equipped with a safety belt that (1) meets the standards stated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (49 CFR 571.208 and (2) is standard equipment installed by the manufacturer;
shall have a safety belt properly fastened about the occupant’s body at all times when the vehicle is in forward motion.” Failure to properly fasten your seatbelt not only puts you at risk of being ticketed, but it could also reduce the amount of compensation the insurer will pay you in the event you are involved in an accident.
Although there is no guarantee that a seatbelt will save your life or prevent you from suffering serious injuries in the event of a wreck, there is a high chance that it will. In 2016, 23,714 drivers, as well as passengers, were killed in motor vehicle accidents and of those, more than half of the individuals between the ages of 20-44 were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the collision [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. So, if you suffered serious injuries that could have been far less severe had you been wearing your seatbelt, the insurer responsible for handling the claim will likely take this into account when determining the value of it.
Because insurers would rather pay less for a claim than what the victim is actually entitled to receive, there is a high probability that the adjuster will offer you a lower amount than what you thought you would receive for the injuries you suffered.
Now, just because the insurer offers you a lower amount doesn’t mean you are obligated to accept it. You can always retain a Gary, IN car accident lawyer who can negotiate with the insurer in an effort to raise the initial offer the adjuster provided you with. Should the adjuster refuse to increase the amount of your settlement, you have the right to appeal their decision. While there is no guarantee that the insurer will provide you with an adequate amount of compensation, you stand a better chance of securing a favorable outcome when you are represented by an experienced lawyer like Marshall P. Whalley.
Can I still file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt?
Yes, you can still file suit if you weren’t able to recover the full amount of compensation you thought you were going to receive. However, you are encouraged to contact Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC before attempting to take any steps on your own. The fact is, you may have a difficult time recouping the money you are seeking given that you were in violation of one or more traffic laws which may have contributed to you suffering the harsh injuries that you did.
To help you overcome any obstacles you might run into, we suggest you retain a car accident attorney who can assist you. To learn more about how your car accident claim will be affected when you were in violation of a traffic law, contact our office to set up a time to come in and speak with a skilled lawyer.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC is located at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307