Most everyone knows the importance of seat belts and their impact on saving lives. And as a car accident lawyer, I cannot stress strongly enough just how important it is to always buckle up before you drive. Not only will this simple device save your life, but it may also save your personal injury case. Simply by not buckling up, you are taking responsibility for your own potential injuries if you are ever in an accident. Many people do not know just how the failure to use a working seat belt can destroy a traffic accident injury claim in Florida. Para leer en español haga clic aquí.
Seat Belt Cases in Florida: Defense and Responsibility
Recently, a Broward County jury found that a passenger injured in an auto accident was 90% responsible for her own injuries because she failed to wear a seat belt. As a result, the jury awarded her substantially less money because they felt that her medical expenses and injuries would have been far less if she had been restrained properly by her safety belt. If you don’t wear one, you may ultimately be the person responsible when you try to file your seat belt injury claim.
The accident in question happened late at night when Joseph Blanco experienced a seizure and lost control of his car. During the accident, Blanco drove over two curbs, through a tree and into a house. His passenger, Mayuris Disla broke her neck and underwent a cervical fusion surgery to treat her injuries.
At trail, the jury felt that since Ms. Disla, the innocent passenger, was not wearing a seat belt at the time of her crash, she was 90% responsible for her broken neck and medical bills. By the time the jury reduced the amount of the verdict of $115,325 by her comparative negligence or her own fault of 90% and subtracted the amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) she was left with a judgment of only $10,532.50. She appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeal which has jurisdiction over Broward county’s personal injury jury trials.
Accidents Resulting from Drivers Having Seizures Behind the Wheel
One of the other interesting aspects of this case is whether or not a driver can be held responsible if they suffer a seizure and cause an accident in Florida. The court ruled that if the seizure (or other medical condition) was one that was unknown to the driver, before the accident, he could not have been responsible for having caused the crash. However, if the seizure disorder was in fact one that the driver knew he could suffer and render him unconscious, then he could be legally responsible for causing the accident.
Our auto accident injury lawyers are passionate about helping people who have been hurt obtain the money they deserve for medical expenses, lost time from work and pain and suffering. We strongly urge everyone to use a seat belt at all times – to prevent the kind of serious spinal cord injury that Ms. Disla unfortunately suffered.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle, car or truck crash in Florida, we are here to help—and we provide free initial legal consults to anyone at any time. We accept cases across Florida, from Jacksonville to the Florida Keys. Email me, Spencer Aronfeld, or call our vehicle accident law firm Toll-Free: 866-597-4529 today, we are here to help.