Insurance adjustors may attempt to devalue car accident claims if the injured party was not wearing a seat belt.
The Argument: The injured party wasn't wearing a seat belt, so this makes the negligent driver "less" at fault for causing the car crash.
While I am certainly a very big proponent of wearing a seat belt at all times and encourage all of my clients to do so, this is yet another meritless attempt to avoid paying claims by insurance companies.
The fact of the matter is, in South Carolina, failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence in a civil lawsuit. What this means is if you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you have a case against the party that caused the accident. Even if you were not wearing a seat belt when the accident occurred, you are still entitled to recover for all of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by the accident. The at fault driver cannot use the fact that you were not wearing a seat belt against you in court to show you were partially responsible for your injuries.
Here is a real case that discusses this provision of the seat belt law.
For more on the seat belt law in South Carolina, click here.
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