No Seatbelt and Car Accident Claims in Wisconsin
Can I Make a Claim if I Had No Seatbelt in a Car Accident?
Drivers and passengers in Wisconsin are required to wear a seatbelt every time they get in a vehicle. Too frequently, we hear of accidents where the driver or passenger had no seatbelt and was injured in a car accident. Not wearing a seatbelt drastically increases the risk of injury in an auto accident and can even impact your accident claim if you need to file one.
You Can Still File a Car Accident Claim
The first thing to understand is, yes, you can still file a car accident claim, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Seatbelt Laws in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, you can be pulled over if the police see you driving with no seatbelt. The state seatbelt law is a primary enforcement law, which means you can be stopped even if you did not commit any other traffic violations. If you are stopped for no seatbelt, you may be ticketed and fined and might face other consequences. Not wearing a seatbelt in the vehicle is considered negligence in Wisconsin.
What is the Seatbelt Defense?
The seatbelt defense refers to a technique used by the at-fault party to try and devalue the injured party’s claim by suggesting that the injuries would not have happened or not been as severe had the victim been wearing a seatbelt.
This technique is permitted in Wisconsin. However, juries cannot deny your claim outright simply because you were not wearing a seatbelt. What they can do is devalue the claim by as much as 15% of your final awarded damages. The law requires the at-fault party to prove with evidence that your injuries were either made worse by not wearing the seatbelt or that you would have been unharmed if you had been wearing one.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt Is Never a Good Idea
Even though you can still pursue compensation in these cases, it is never a good idea to skip buckling up. Not wearing a seatbelt increases the risk of serious injury even in minor accidents, let alone major ones. Seatbelts hold you in place so you don’t hit your head on the windshield, or worse, go through it, or get ejected from the vehicle. Wearing seatbelts in the front seat reduces the risk of fatal injuries by 45 percent and the risk of critical injuries by 50 percent.
What If I Wasn’t Wearing My Seatbelt?
If you were in an accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, be mindful about what you say to your insurance company or the at-fault party about the accident. It is strongly recommended that you speak with a car accident attorney in these situations before you speak with an insurance company (yours or the other party’s) to best position your claim and develop an effective strategy.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Wisconsin and were not wearing a seatbelt, contact the car accident attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices. Our team can help you navigate the insurance claims process and the court system, if needed, to obtain the compensation you need to fully recover from the accident. Discuss your situation in a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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