Anytime you have been injured in any type of accident, there are always two primary questions: (1) who caused the accident and (2) what are the extent of your injuries. (There are other important questions, like whether the defendant had a duty to you and whether the defendant breached that duty, but the primary areas of focus for most Orlando personal injury attorneys regarding potential accident cases are causation and the extent of medical /bodily injury damages).
There’s This Thing Called “Comparative Negligence,” Which Can Lower The Value Of Your Claim
Basically comparative negligence means that both parties to an accident theoretically could have contributed to either causing the accident itself or making the injuries worse. And, very often the jury hears and sees evidence regarding the relative fault of both parties. That’s what we call comparative negligence. In other words, both parties were potentially negligent, so we ask the jury to compare the negligence of both parties and literally assign a percentage to the relative degrees of fault. Then they have to determine your damages. And, assuming the jury finds that the defendant had some percentage of fault, the defendant only has to pay the percentage of damages that they actually caused. This is where the seat belt defense becomes important.
Enter The Seat Belt Defense
Based on comparative negligence principles, insurance defense attorneys can use the seat belt defense to say that you should share some degree of responsibility for the extent of your injuries. You probably know that the law requires you to wear a seat belt when operating a vehicle. The law also requires anyone who is 16 years old, or older, and riding as a passenger in the front seat, to wear a seat belt. So basically defense attorneys are permitted to argue that violating this traffic law is some evidence of comparative negligence, that is, some evidence that your actions contributed to the extent of your injuries.
What If You Were Not Wearing A Seat Belt?
Then you are going to need a skilled Orlando car accident attorney to make the most of other arguments and evidentiary admission issues. Very often creative strategy is the key throughout all phases of difficult lawsuits. There are many defenses just like this one that can reduce the value of your claim. But a skilled Orlando car accident attorney may potentially be able to reduce the impact of these defenses by employing creative and unique strategies throughout any car accident lawsuit.