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  • Tuesday, June, 2024| Today's Market | Current Time: 10:43:14
  • Everyone knows that wearing a seatbelt is required by law. But few understand exactly what the basis of this law is. Moreover, not as many drivers appreciate the potential penalties of not driving with a seatbelt on. And these penalties are not limited to traffic tickets. If you get into an accident while not wearing a seatbelt, the amount of damages that you recover could be lessened. The personal injury team at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys is here to advocate for your legal rights and help you win the compensation you need.

    Seatbelts: Essential for Safe Driving

    Newton’s First Law of Motion basically states that an object will remain in motion unless and until acted upon by an external force. This fundamental rule of physics underscores the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Without one, if you get into an accident, your body will propel forward and won’t stop until something stops it. This could be your dashboard, the windshield, or a stationary object like a light pole.

    Most people recognize the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Moreover, nearly everyone agrees that it’s a good idea to wear one. That’s why California law (specifically, California Vehicle Code 27315) requires that any person who is 16 years or older must wear a seatbelt while driving a vehicle or riding in one as a passenger.

    Violating California’s seatbelt law carries a fine of $20.00 for the first offense and $50.00 for each subsequent offense. It should be noted, however, that these are merely the base fines. Depending on the penalty assessment and other fees, you will pay much more than this. A seatbelt ticket for an adult is usually around $200; for not restraining a child, the ticket can be as much as $500. Taxi and limousine drivers can also be fined if their passengers are not wearing seatbelts.

    Instead of paying the fee on a first offense, a driver can attend traffic school to learn more about the importance of seatbelt safety. There are no points added to your DMV record for seatbelt infractions.

    How Not Wearing A Seatbelt May Affect An Accident Claim

    The consequences of failing to wear a seatbelt are not necessarily limited to fines and traffic school. If you get into an accident and it is discovered that you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time, the amount of damages (compensation) you receive could be reduced. This is where it helps to understand the concept of comparative negligence.

    As the term implies, comparative negligence compares the relative fault of the parties involved in a car accident – including the plaintiff. In states like California that have a comparative negligence system, a defendant is only responsible for the percentage of fault that is attributed to him or her. The percentage that is assigned to the plaintiff/victim will reduce the compensation he or she would otherwise receive.

    Assume that a jury determines that the plaintiff/victim’s failure to wear a seatbelt was 20% responsible for the total damages he or she incurred. The amount of damages was otherwise worth $100,000. But because of the plaintiff’s 20% liability, this dollar amount will be reduced by $20,000 and the victim will only receive $80,000. California is known more specifically as a pure comparative negligence state. This means that even if the plaintiff is more responsible for the accident than the defendant, he or she can still recover damages.

    How Our Firm Can Help

    Comparative negligence gives at-fault drivers and their lawyers a strong incentive to try to shift blame to the victim. We understand that, which is why our firm not only fights for the compensation that California accident victims deserve, we also defend against attempts to use comparative negligence against them. When you retain Text Kevin Accident Attorneys as your personal injury law firm, you will have a dedicated legal advocate from the beginning to the end of your case.

    To learn more about California’s seatbelt laws, read our blog. If we can help with your accident case, give us a call.

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