Does Seatbelt Use Impact A Personal Injury Claim?
Seatbelts can save lives in an auto accident or significantly reduce the severity of injuries in a crash, but sometimes people forget to strap in before getting on the road. If you have concerns about how seatbelt use may impact your personal injury claims after an accident, the experienced Nashville personal injury lawyers at Mitch Grissim & Associates can help. Call or contact our office to learn more.
Tennessee Seatbelt Law
Like many other states, Tennessee does have a law that requires the use of seatbelts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Under the law, no person shall operate a motor vehicle unless the driver and any passengers ages four years and older are wearing seatbelts while the vehicle is in motion. Everyone in the vehicle is required by law to be strapped in at all times while the vehicle is moving.
Violators of the seatbelt law can be fined $25 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses as well as an associated traffic citation if found not wearing a seatbelt. This is also the case in auto accidents if the evidence shows that an injury victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. However, in Tennessee the lack of a seatbelt during an accident cannot bar a personal injury claim for victims injured in a crash.
Can Seatbelt Use Be Used Against You?
Even if you are not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an auto accident, Tennessee law protects a victim from being barred compensation for that fact. State statute provides that the failure to wear a seatbelt is not admissible as evidence in a civil lawsuit unless the victim is making a products liability claim about the seatbelt itself. Simply put, the law prevents a person responsible for an accident from claiming that they should not have to pay damages because the victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time that the accident occurred.
Tennessee Comparative Fault
Generally speaking, Tennessee operates under a modified comparative fault rule when it comes to personal injury claims such as auto accidents. This means that the court determines the degree of fault for each party involved in the case and reduces the compensation award by that percentage. However, if a party is found to be more than fifty percent at fault for an accident they are barred from recovering any compensation for their damages. For example, if an accident victim has $100,000 in damages and is found ten percent at fault, the total award is reduced to $90,000. However, in the same situation if the victim was found sixty percent at fault they would receive nothing for their damages. To learn more about how comparative fault may play into your personal injury case, talk to an experienced attorney in your area today.
Talk to Our Office Today
Do you have concerns about how seatbelt use might impact your claims after an auto accident in the Nashville area? Then call or contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Mitch Grissim & Associates today to schedule a free consultation of your case.