Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for people up to 54 years of age.((Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2015.)) With that fact in mind, everyone should know or at least have heard that seat belts save lives, yet according to statistics, millions of people fail to buckle up every year, particularly teens and young adults. For example, in 2015, 22,441 people died in car accidents; more than half of those were teens (ages 13-19) and adults aged 20-44, who were unrestrained at the time of the crash.((National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: 2015 Data – Occupant Protection. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2017. Publication no. DOT-HS-812-374.)) In Florida, however, our statistics are slightly above the national average in every category; for example, in the United States 86% of drivers and front-seat passengers who were involved in accidents were wearing seatbelts compared to 87% of Florida car accident victims.
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Florida has very specific laws that require all front-seat passengers to wear seat belts when driving any car built since 1968. In addition, all passengers under 18 years of age must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat. Moreover, in Florida it is against the law to operate a vehicle if passengers are not properly buckled up.((2016 Florida Statutes (Title XXIII) MOTOR VEHICLES Chapter 316.614.))
What happens if you are injured in a car accident but were not wearing your seatbelt? You still have the right to make a claim for your personal injuries, medical expenses, lost time from work, and other damages. However, it can and most likely will be argued that you would not have suffered any injury or at least not as severe an injury had you been wearing your seatbelt. This defense is known in Florida as the Seatbelt Defense.
Much has been written on how gifted and experienced car accident lawyers in Florida can argue around the Seatbelt Defense; however, in the end plaintiffs in personal injury cases will often find that the money they would otherwise have been entitled to receive will be greatly reduced when and if the evidence shows they failed to use a fully operational seat belt.
Seeking an Attorney to Assist With Florida Car Accident Claims
If you have been injured in a car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. I have personally investigated hundreds if not thousands of car accidents across the state of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West.
Since 1991, our Miami personal injury law firm has fought to protect the legal rights of Florida’s injured. Let our years of experience help protect your legal rights and hold the auto insurance companies and others responsible for their negligence. Call us today and speak with an attorney who knows and understands how to maximize your claim and obtain for you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We provide free initial and confidential legal consultations 24/7, by telephone toll-free at 1-866-597-4529, locally at 305-441-0440, and by email at [email protected] or SKYPE. Contact us today–we are ready to help.