Over Millions in Verdicts & Settlements For Our Clients
$12 Million Boating Accident
$7 Million Automobile Accident
$3.7 Million Slip and Fall
$3.5 Million Motorcycle Accident
$2.5 Million Pedestrian Accident

Can I File a Car Accident Claim if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt?

It goes without saying that seat belts reduce the risk of injury and death in the event of an accident. That’s why 49 states—all but New Hampshire—have implemented laws that require operators and passengers to wear seat belts when riding in a moving vehicle.

Fortunately, if you were unrestrained at the time of your collision, you may still be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages. That said, the insurance company might argue that your choice not to wear a seat belt makes you partially liable for your damages.

Read on to learn the answers to a few FAQs about filing a claim after getting hurt in a crash while unrestrained:

How Might not Wearing a Seat Belt Impact the Outcome of my Car Accident Claim?

Insurers have incentive to find reasons to deny or reduce the value of every claim that comes their way. The less money they have to pay out, the higher their profits, so you can expect the claims adjuster to consider all possible options for disputing your claim.

If you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision, the insurance adjuster will likely use that fact to argue that you are at least partially liable for the severity of your injuries. Since Florida follows a pure comparative fault system, that means your final payout could be reduced by your own percentage of fault.

Fortunately, there are steps your attorney may be able to take to overcome such a dispute. For instance, if your injuries would have been just as severe if you had been restrained, your attorney can gather evidence and possibly bring in accident reconstruction experts and medical specialists to provide testimony.

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How Long Will it Take to Resolve my Case?

Unfortunately, there’s no standard timeline for resolving car accident claims, and in cases involving liability disputes, delays are common. If you turn to a seasoned personal injury lawyer, though, you can rely on your legal team to anticipate such delays and take steps to avoid them.

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What Kinds of Damages Might be Recoverable?

In the state of Florida, car accident victims may be able to pursue the following damages:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Lost benefits;
  • Loss of future earning capacity;
  • Property damage;
  • Home and vehicle modifications;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Home care;
  • Child care and domestic help;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of consortium; and
  • Punitive damages, if the defendant acted with intentional malice or gross negligence.

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Call 772-266-5555 to Speak With a Car Accident Attorney in Florida

If you sustained serious injuries in a collision that was not your fault, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We require no money upfront, and you don’t have to pay a retainer to take advantage of our legal services. Call 772-266-5555 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in Florida.

What Our Clients Say
The attorneys at Donaldson & Weston helped me get an amazing result on my case. Obviously I’ve been through a lot physically but I feel better now and the money really helped my family. When I was riding my bicycle I was hit by a truck that wasn't paying attention. I am not the suing type, but I would definitely hire this firm again. - M.P.
After my accident, i felt like I was being pulled in a bunch of different directions. I really didn't know what to do and all I wanted was someone to shoot me straight. The lawyers at the firm were so honest and definitely pointed me in the right direction. The staff was professional. I think it’s great that only attorneys work on my case, it definitely made me feel comfortable - D.L.
After my accident happened I waited to hear back from the insurance company for about 6 months. I just felt like they kept jerking me around. They even told me not to hire an attorney because it would mean less money in my pocket. I couldn't wait any longer because my bills were out of hand. I hired this firm and they were solid. I got a great result without having to go to court. - S.C.