As per the most complete ascertainable statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 47% of all passenger vehicle occupants who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019 were “unrestrained.” To put “unrestrained” into plain English, it’s highly likely that they weren’t properly wearing a seat belt, or they weren’t wearing one at all. That’s nearly half of all drivers who died in accidents in that year. There’s no question that seat belts help to prevent a driver or passenger of a passenger vehicle from being ejected in the event of a crash. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia relates that three of every four people who are ejected from a vehicle as a result of a crash die from their injuries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that least 49% of teen drivers and passengers who died in crashes in 2019 weren’t wearing a seat belt when they crashed. It concluded that the use of seat belts reduces the risk of crash-related injuries by about half.
The Most Recent Fatality in Ventura County:
In June 2021, a 16-year-old girl was tragically killed in a crash while another female teen was severely injured on Highway 101 in Ventura at about 4:20 a.m. in Ventura when a car that they were in that was driven by a 22-year-old male left the roadway and tumbled down a steep embankment south of Victoria Avenue. According to VC Star, neither of the teens were buckled up, and both girls were ejected from the vehicle. The driver of the car was wearing his seat belt and suffered moderate injuries. He is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol and has been charged with suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter.
California’s Seat Belt Law:
A frequent question from accident victims is whether they are eligible to recover compensation for the damages that they suffered in an accident if they weren’t wearing a seat belt. California’s seat belt law is found at section 27315(d) of the California Vehicle Code. It prohibits operation of a motor vehicle unless the driver and all passengers 16 years of age or older “are properly restrained by a safety belt.”
Comparative Negligence in California:
Under California law, juries are permitted to hear whether a claimant was wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash. Juries are also permitted to assign a percentage of fault to an injury claimant who wasn’t wearing a seat belt. That claimant may have been a passenger who didn’t cause an accident, but failed to use due care and caution to prevent injuries to himself or herself in the event of an accident by not wearing a seat belt. He or she might then be determined to be 25% at fault for their own injuries. On that basis, a $100,000 verdict would be reduced to $75,000.
Contact a Local Accident Lawyer.
After being injured in an accident that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, contact us at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC as soon as you can. We’ll arrange for a confidential consultation and case review at no cost to you at all. If we’re retained to represent you, no initial retainer fee is even due.