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Can I Still Recover Compensati...

Can I Still Recover Compensation If I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt?

  • November 20, 2017

If you are driving a vehicle or riding in a vehicle in Wappingers Falls, NY, you must wear your seatbelt according to New York’s seatbelt law. Seatbelts have been shown to reduce the risk of injury in an automobile accident; however, they do not prevent all injuries. Even if you are wearing your seatbelt, you can still be injured in a vehicle crash.

Accident victims who suffer injuries during an accident are entitled to receive compensation for those injuries from the negligent driver. However, if the victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, the amount of compensation may be reduced because of failure to mitigate damages.

How Does Failure to Mitigate Damages Relate to the Use of Seatbelts?

If you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident, the insurance company for the negligent driver will argue that you failed to take steps to reduce the severity of your injuries. In other words, your injuries would not have been as severe if you had been wearing your seatbelt; therefore, you failed to mitigate your damages.

For example, if the defense attorney is able to convince a jury that if you were wearing a seatbelt, a shoulder injury would have been less severe, the jury may reduce the amount you were awarded.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Comparative Negligence

New York is a no-fault state for automobile accidents; therefore, drivers use their personal insurance coverage “no-fault” benefits for the first $50,000 in medical bills and lost wages. However, when there is a serious injury, the other driver’s insurance coverage, if they are at fault, will compensate you for pain, suffering, additional legal bills and lost wages

All drivers in New York must purchase and maintain personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Regardless of fault, PIP insurance pays expenses related to injuries in the accident for the insured. Comparative negligence does not affect your coverage under your PIP insurance policy. The policy will pay medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your injuries regardless of whether you were wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident.

You may then seek compensation for your injury-related expenses from the other driver if he or she was negligent and at-fault for the accident. You can also seek compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering if the driver was at fault.

Have You Been Injured In An Automobile Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident in Wappingers Falls, NY, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to assisting accident victims recover a fair and just settlement for their damages and injuries. You can contact our Wappingers Falls Office by telephone at 845-764-9532 or 866-290-6929.