Seatbelts Save Lives
If you’ve ever gotten behind the wheel of your car without buckling your seatbelt, or allowed passengers to get in without insisting they buckle up, thinking, “it’s only a short trip,” or, “back seat passengers don’t really need to wear a seat belt,” you may want to think again. Seat belts save an enormous number of lives, and wearing a seat belt can also affect your right to compensation if you’re hurt in a crash. Below are some facts about seat belt use in Virginia, and why you should always buckle in.
Even short trips involve risk.
You might think that, if you’re just making a quick run to the store, you don’t need to wear a seat belt. What could happen in such a short time? However, 75% of all car accidents occur within 25 miles of the home, and a serious crash can happen even at lower speeds.
Wearing a seat belt is often the difference between who lives or dies in a crash.
If you’re in an accident, your odds of being seriously injured go down by 50% when you wear a seat belt, and your risk of dying in that crash goes down by 45%. If you choose not to buckle up, you greatly increase your chances of being thrown from the vehicle upon impact. Someone who is thrown from a vehicle is 25 times more likely to be fatally injured than someone who remains inside.
Seat belts are extremely unlikely to do more harm than good.
You may have heard that, if you wear a seat belt in a crash, the belt might trap you in the car and cause you to be killed if the car bursts into flames or is submerged in water. However, researchers have found that only one half of 1% of all accidents involve explosions or a vehicle submerged in water, and the belt is vastly more likely to save your life than to harm it.
In Virginia, if you’re injured in a crash when you aren’t wearing a seat belt, you could hurt your chances of recovering damages in a lawsuit.
If you’re in a crash with another driver while not wearing a seat belt, where that other driver was clearly at fault, that other driver will try to argue that you could’ve prevented your injuries by wearing a seat belt. If successful, this theory could keep you from receiving an award of damages. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, if a plaintiff was found to be responsible at all for the injuries they received for which they’re suing the defendant, then that plaintiff will be completely barred from recovering from the defendant. Ensure that you and your family are able to receive compensation for costs and suffering caused by another person’s careless acts by ensuring that you’re taking every safety measure you can on the road.
If you have been hurt in an accident with a reckless or negligent driver, contact the seasoned Charlottesville personal injury and car accident attorneys at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz for a free consultation, at (434) 977-7977.