Can You Claim Compensation if You Weren’t Wearing Your Seatbelt During a Car Accident?

As per the law practiced in Tampa, it is mandatory to wear a seatbelt. It has also led to confusion where many people fail to take any action if they are mired in a vehicular accident as they failed to take required safety precautions, like wearing a seatbelt. Even if they failed to follow this mandatory law, they could claim compensation. Many people are unaware of this fact, which is why they fail to take any action after such a mishappening occurs. They believe that since they were at fault, nothing can be done about it, and they have no choice but to forgo any claim they can seek from the other party. Hiring or engaging the services of Dennis Hernandez, an expert Tampa car accident lawyer who enjoys a high success rate in such cases is the first step towards seeking damages.

Source: Steinger, Greene & Feiner

The job of a personal injury attorney is to study the case at length and see if it has any merit. It shall depend on several factors. The attorney will also find out how much at fault the person not wearing a seatbelt was at the time of the mishappening. A lot will depend on this information. If the person failed to fulfill this legal duty when traveling on the road and met an accident, the compensation amount claimed by him may be less than what he expected. The courts are generally fair and just and ensure both parties getting justice, but if a person failed to uphold his responsibility, it could change things.

When hiring a personal injury lawyer or a car accident attorney, the person needs to share pertinent details of the mishappening. Nothing must be hidden from the lawyer, and he knows everything so that he can prepare the case accordingly. If the client was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, he must share this information with his attorney. Keeping him dark about this information is going to hurt his case.


The vehicle accident often occurs due to some other person’s carelessness or recklessness, but the passengers also face the brunt of this mishappening. A case can be filed against the errant driver, but if by any chance the passenger was not wearing the belt at that time, the compensation amount due to him may reduce by a certain percentage. In such cases, the court decides the amount by fixing the guilt of the passenger and the injuries sustained by him. The attorney will prepare the case based on necessary documents, witness accounts, medical reports, employment records, and more. All this data and information help to prepare the case in favor of the client. While presenting the case in court, it is important to inform about the passenger’s negligence about failing to wear a seat harness at the time of mishappening.

It is important to understand here that in legal terms, if the passenger gets involved in an accident due to a driver’s negligence but he failed to fulfill his legal duty of wearing a seatbelt, it is a clear case of contribution to negligence. The court and the attorney of the defendant try to fix the responsibility and negligence of the passenger. Once it is fixed, it paves the way for deciding the compensation amount. In simple words, it means that not only the driver but the passenger also contributed to this unfortunate event, and thus both are liable or responsible for the injuries sustained.


There is no clear-cut law on this aspect of car accident laws, but general guidelines are followed to fix the culpability. Thus, the entire legal proceedings and the case’s success depend on finding out the comparative fault and negligence of the passenger. The attorneys have immense ideas regarding such cases, and they help their clients understand how the case might turn if their guilt is proved in court by the defendant’s lawyer. Hiding this important fact from the lawyer or court can damage the case, and the chances of claiming compensation are reduced significantly. Thus, it is recommended to ensure complete transparency as everything comes out when the case is in court.

When hearing the case, the court also tries to find about the comparative fault of the parties. In a nutshell, whose fault was more in the event of the accident is tried to be investigated. Once the level of carelessness or negligence of a person is decided, the amount to be paid as compensation is fixed. It can reduce by a certain percentage depending on the level of fault or negligence of the claimant. Here, it is prudent to note that the court tries to find out if the injuries sustained by the passenger would not have been so grievous if he would have been wearing a seat harness, the amount to be paid as compensation is reduced by a maximum. Thus, as the level of negligence goes down, the compensation reduction also goes down. This fact is looked at to ensure providing a fair and just decision to both involved parties.

Source: Mile High Spine & Pain Center

It is very important to select a seasoned and capable Tampa car accident attorney who understands the fine nuances of car accident-related laws and can help his client to his best advantage. Do not appoint the first lawyer showing in your internet search. Take your time and find the person who is ideally suited to handle your case.

Prepare the case with your lawyer, discuss every aspect and come up with suitable rebuttals to the defense posed by the defendant’s lawyer. It may take some time to collect relevant documents from diverse authorities, talk to the witnesses, record their statements, and draft a sound notice. Once the notice is served and the defendant replies to the same, the court proceedings begin. Taking the help of an experienced lawyer goes a long way to winning the case and getting suitably compensated. Trust your lawyer and follow his advice so that you get desired outcome from the litigation process.