Seat Belts – Windermere Car Accident Lawyers
What happens if you get into a car accident and you don’t have your seat belt on? Windermere car accident lawyers can help you!
After the Florida Supreme Court adopted the seat belt defense in Insurance Company of North America v. Pasakarnis, the Florida legislature, in 1986, enacted Fla. Stat. 316.614. This statute makes it unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle unless the operator is restrained by a safety belt.
The statute goes on to discuss liability for passengers themselves where they are 16 years old or older and do not use proper restraints inside their vehicles. The legislature did not intend to alter the ruling in Pasakarnis; therefore Pasakarnis is applied equally to operators and front and back seat passengers, even if the statute itself mentions only front seat drivers in specific sections.
Where a person does not use a seat belt, such non use of the seat belt may only be considered by the jury hearing the case as to whether the damages should be reduced. The issue of non use may not be considered in resolving the issue of liability UNLESS the non use of the seat belt was in fact the proximate cause of the injury suffered.
For example: Where a person is hit by another car and they suffer injury, that person’s injury and monetary compensation for said injury may potentially be reduced if they were not wearing a seat belt. However, the jury can’t consider the seat belt for liability unless the non use of the seat belt caused the injury in question (an injury that would not have occurred without the non use of the seat belt).