WHAS 11 recently reported on a fatal traffic accident in the Louisville area, suffered after a driver struck a tree. The woman driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police were investigating whether or not speed and alcohol played a part. You can read the article and watch the report, here.
Although the woman was driving an older model Volvo without airbags, there is nothing to suggest that the accident would have been fatal had she been wearing her seatbelt. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), lap-shoulder belt systems reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used by drivers and front-seat passengers.
What happens when you are involved in a car or truck accident and you are not wearing a seatbelt? Not only are you at a higher risk of serious injury and death, but you may be found entirely or partially at fault for your injuries. In Kentucky, this finding of fault on your behalf may eliminate or reduce the compensation you get from the driver, who caused the accident injuring you in the first place. For instance, if your failure to wear a seatbelt is determined to have increased your injuries by 50%, then your recovery will be reduced by 50% as well.
Despite their perceived inconvenience, the time it takes to put on a seatbelt far outweighs the cost in injury and death occurring without them. While wearing a seatbelt doesn’t guarantee that you won’t suffer serious injury or death in an accident, it clearly reduces the chance that occurs. For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, always, always wear your seatbelt.
If you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you may need the services of a qualified Kentucky accident attorney. He can evaluate the significance of such a failure on your claim and advise you of the options you might have. Do not take the insurance company’s word that because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you aren’t entitled to any recovery.