Failing to buckle-up can have far greater impacts than simply receiving a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt. It is undisputed that seat belts help save lives in car accidents. In fact, seatbelts would have saved the lives of over one half of passengers that are killed each year. Not only can wearing a seatbelt save your life, but it can also impact the success of your car accident claim. A Kansas City car accident attorney can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries, regardless of whether you were wearing a seatbelt or not.
Missouri Seat Belt Law
Under Missouri law, drivers and all passengers are required to wear a seatbelt at all times that the driver is operating the vehicle. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that their passengers under the age of 16 are also wearing their seatbelts. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has a helpful brochure that includes statistics on the life saving benefits of wearing seatbelts, as well as an overview of the Missouri seatbelt and car seat requirements.
How Does Not Wearing a Seatbelt Impact My Missouri Car Accident Claim?
Besides the fact that wearing your seatbelt can help save your life in a car accident, it can also be an important point when fighting with insurance companies for compensation for your injuries. If you were in injured in a car accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, insurance companies may try to use it against you to reduce the amount of money that need to pay, even if the other party or parties were clearly at fault for the accident. As we wrote in previous posts, insurance companies want to pay you a little amount of money as possible to settle your claim and will try to find evidence that you were partially at fault for the accident.
Many people may be hesitant to admit that they weren’t wearing their seatbelt out of fear that it will get them in trouble. Importantly, under Missouri law, failing to wear a seatbelt “shall not be considered evidence of comparative negligence.” This means that a jury cannot consider the failure to wear a seatbelt when it is determining fault for the accident. Failure to wear a seatbelt can only be used as evidence to reduce damages if expert evidence shows that that failing to wear a seatbelt contributed to the injuries. Moreover, even if there is convincing evidence that the injuries would not have occurred or would have been less severe if the victim was wearing a seatbelt, that fact can only be used to reduce the amount of recovery by one percent.
How a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Can Help
While seat belts help saves lives, car accidents and injuries dol inevitability occur. When you are dealing with insurance companies, it is important to have someone on your side who is knowledgeable of Missouri law. If you forgot to buckle your seatbelt and the insurance company is trying to use that fact to find you partially at fault, the experienced Kansas City car accident attorneys at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm will help you push back to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us online today for a free case evaluation or call us at 816-200-2900 to discuss how we can help.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.