One day you’re in the middle of making dinner when suddenly you realize – dang it. You’re out of milk. You quickly turn the stove off, grab your keys and start driving to the grocery store around the corner.
As you’re driving, your car starts making that awful seatbelt reminder sound that’s designed to get on your very last nerve, but you ignore it. You’re almost there.
But just as you’re looking down at the flashing seatbelt light, you hear brakes squealing and the next thing you know your body is being hurled towards the steering wheel.
We’ve all done it. Gone without a seatbelt at one time or another that is. And if you haven’t, well, you probably have a very proud mother.
But how does not wearing a seatbelt in a car accident affect your insurance claim?
That’s an excellent question, especially if you live in North Carolina.
See Attorney Michael Jordan’s response to this question below. Or continue reading.
North Carolina has an older law which is often referred to as “contributory negligence.”
This law means that if you’re in an accident and you were doing something at the time that may have contributed to the accident (such as speeding), you’re equally at fault and may be barred from receiving any compensation.
Other states have laws called “comparative negligence” in place that assign percentages to fault (so you could be 20% at fault for speeding, but the other guy might be 80% for turning left in front of you without enough time), but in North Carolina, you’re typically at fault or not at fault.
Going without a seatbelt does NOT qualify as contributory negligence (and therefore you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries).
However, it may affect how much you receive.
In our experience, insurance companies may try to fight or reduce your claim, based on the fact that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
When they do, these cases can get complicated very quickly.
If you were in an accident and weren’t wearing a seatbelt…
We recommend you call a NC car crash attorney right away.
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that if we don’t get you compensation for your claim, you don’t owe us an attorney’s fee. It’s just one more way we can demonstrate that we’re confident in our abilities and really do want to help you.