Whether or not to wear a seat belt has been considered a controversial topic forever, and, unfortunately, no number of nationwide campaigns advocating for these safety measures has garnered 100% use. However, there are more benefits to wearing a seat belt than just reducing injuries. In some states, it may even be the difference between receiving full compensation following a motor vehicle accident.
What is the "Seat Belt Defense"?
The "seat belt defense" is a legal argument that claims that an injured person's injuries were caused or worsened by their failure to wear a seat belt at the time the accident occurred. Currently, 15 states allow for this defense - Georgia is not included in this list. In fact, according to O.C.G.A. 40-8-76.1, failing to wear a seat belt cannot be used to demonstrate negligence or diminish recovery in a case.
However, this does not mean that drivers and passengers should go without. In recent years, the Georgia Senate Transportation Committee unsuccessfully passed a bill to reinstate this defense (first created in 1988), and the Georgia Supreme Court heard a case in July 2022 that centered around the constitutionality of not allowing seat belt use to be entered as evidence. As this continues to be an ongoing conversation, it's essential for motorists to be aware of how their claims may be affected in the future.
The Importance of Wearing a Seat Belt
Despite not requiring every adult passenger to wear a seat belt, Georgia does recognize the importance of doing so for safety. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Not only are they proven to reduce the risk of serious injury in a car crash, but they can also help occupants remain conscious and better able to take action if needed. Additionally, wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of being ejected from the vehicle.
Georgia Car Crash Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact an experienced car crash attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help guide you through the claims process and fight for the best outcome possible. Our DREAM TEAM at Jamie Casino Injury Attorneys has developed a reputation for fearless client advocacy and can help ensure you receive the compensation you're entitled to. Call (912) 809-5335 today to discuss your options.