Seat belts save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world every year, and every state in the U.S. has a seat belt law mandating that all occupants wear them. Drivers in Missouri who are not wearing a seat belt, or whose passengers under the age of 16 are not wearing seat belts, are subject to fines and court fees, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Those 16 and older are responsible for themselves, according to Missouri law, and will be penalized as such.
Not only can a seat belt violation result in fines and court fees, but not wearing a seat belt can also result in a serious financial loss if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision. This is due to the fact that drivers who are not wearing seat belts, or occupants who are not wearing seat belts, may not be able to collect full compensation for their injuries when another party causes the crash. This can be true even if the other party was solely responsible for causing the wreck, such as running a red light or driving while intoxicated.
Why Not Wearing a Seat Belt May Reduce Your Claim
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved 15,000 lives in 2015. They could have saved an additional 2,500 if those occupants had worn a seat belt. The value of seat belts is well known, and in many cases, occupants walk away from collisions that would have otherwise been fatal or caused serious traumatic injuries. If it is found that you were not buckled up during the time of the collision, the negligent party’s insurance company will argue that your injuries would not have been so extensive had you been following the law and wearing a seat belt.
An insurance company may successfully argue that 80 percent of your injuries, for example, was caused because you were not buckled up, and had you been buckled up, your damages would be significantly less. As such, you would only be entitled to 20 percent of your medical damages, which will leave you with the majority of the hospital and doctors bills. Additionally, you would also receive just 20 percent or less of your pain and suffering damages, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.
The Kansas City Lawyers of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm Can Provide Legal Help Today
Unfortunately, victims of traffic collisions are rarely treated fairly or compassionately by insurance companies, which will do everything in their power to reduce the size of your compensation. This includes claiming that your injuries are not substantial, that you were to blame for causing the crash, that you were to blame for causing your injuries, and much more. To ensure that you have the best chance possible for maximum financial compensation, whether you were wearing a seat belt or not, you must work with an attorney. To get started as soon as possible, call the Kansas City car collision attorneys of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free consultation.
Adam Krause 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. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.