If you were not wearing your seatbelt in a car accident in Virginia and you were injured, it does not automatically mean you cannot file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Of course, the very first thing you should do is seek and comply with emergency services and follow-up medical care.
After you receive the medical care you need to ensure your health and safety, there are other important steps you should take. If you were involved in a car accident in which you were not the at-fault driver, be sure to complete all the steps you would normally complete in the event of an automobile accident.
- File a police report
- Get the other driver’s contact information
- Get the other driver’s insurance information
- Take pictures of both cars from varying angles
- Take pictures that depict road conditions
- Seek medical attention for your injuries
- Seek legal advice
In addition to these steps above, you should contact a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and responsibilities in the event you were not wearing your seatbelt in a car accident in Virginia.
The Penalties for Not Wearing Seatbelts in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, occupants of the front seats of passenger vehicles are required by law to wear seat belts under VA § 46.2-1094. The law further states that any driver over the age of eighteen operating a vehicle that is equipped with a safety belt must wear it while the vehicle is in motion on any public road or highway. Failure to wear your seat belt can result in legal penalties.
- Any person who violates this law is subject to a civil penalty of twenty-five dollars
- A violation of this section of the law does not constitute negligence
- A violation of this section shall not be considered mitigation of damages of any nature
Your attorney can help you understand how your claim might be impacted if you were not wearing your seatbelt and were involved in a car accident in Virginia.
Recovering Damages if You Were Not Wearing a Seatbelt in a Car Accident in Virginia
Whether you are the passenger or driver, you should wear your seatbelt every time you are in any moving vehicle to protect yourself from impact and injury. As important as it is to your safety, it can also have an impact on your lawsuit. It is very important that you speak to an attorney in Virginia who can help you understand the cause of your accident and the effect of not wearing a seatbelt might have on your claim.
The Increased Risk of Injury When Not Wearing a Seatbelt in a Car Accident in Virginia
According to a study in 2016 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor crashes are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of 1 to 54 and more than half of those fatalities could be attributed to not wearing seatbelts.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported 131,848 car accidents in 2018. These accidents resulted in 66,523 reported injuries and 819 fatalities. Of the reported number of car accidents, 4,694 people were not wearing their seatbelt. These accidents involving unrestrained drivers and passengers lead to 3,513 injuries and 298 fatalities.
The Virginia Highway Safety Office strongly urges universal seatbelt use during every car trip. Seat belts are an effective traffic safety device and your best defense against impaired, aggressive, or distracted drivers. Your seatbelt will secure you in place and help you maintain control during an accident.
To be effective, each child or adult riding in a motor vehicle must be restrained by a seatbelt or car seat for their protection. When a car accident results in an ejection from the vehicle, it almost always means death will occur. The surest way to prevent ejection during a car accident is to wear your seatbelt even on very short trips.
Contact an Attorney if You Were Involved in a Car Accident in Virginia
If you were not wearing your seatbelt in a car accident in Virginia when you were injured, you may still have legal options that allow you to seek financial recovery. Speak to a car accident attorney near you to discuss the specifics and particulars of your case.
Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive the monetary award you deserve. In fact, our experience representing insurance companies helps us protect you from those same companies now. Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 to speak with an attorney near you today.