Louisiana law requires that all drivers wear a seatbelt unless they fall with very limited exceptions. If a driver fails to wear a seatbelt, he can be ticketed and face a fine for breaking the law. However, if a driver is not wearing a seatbelt and is involved in a car accident, will the failure to wear a seatbelt impact his ability to recover compensation from the other driver?
Louisiana’s Comparative Negligence Laws
In Louisiana, if you are partially at fault for a car accident you may still be entitled to recover compensation from the other driver. However, the amount you receive for your damages is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the accident.
For example, if another driver turns left in front of you causing an accident but you were speeding at the time of the collision, you could be found partially at fault for your injuries. Let’s assume your damages are $50,000 for the accident and a jury assigns 20 percent of the fault to you because you were speeding. Under comparative negligence laws, you will be entitled to receive $40,000 for your damages ($50,000 less 20 percent).
Seatbelts and Comparative Negligence
If you are in an accident and you are not wearing your seatbelt, you will probably receive a ticket and be fined for violating the law. You may also suffer greater injury because it has been shown that wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of injury in a car accident. However, your compensation will not be reduced for failure to wear your seatbelt because this is not considered comparative negligence in Louisiana. On the other hand, other offenses such as speeding, running a stops sign, and failing to yield the right of way may reduce your compensation in a car accident under Louisiana’s comparative negligence laws.
Hiring an Experienced New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, hiring an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney to handle your claim is the best way to protect your right to receive full compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies try to find ways to reduce the value of a claim, such as through comparative negligence. If the insurance company for the other driver can prove that you were partially at fault for the collision, it can reduce the amount of money it must pay to settle your claim. Therefore, insurance companies aggressively fight accident claims, including taking advantage of accident victims who are not represented by an attorney.
Before you discuss your injuries or your claim with the insurance adjuster for the other driver, call our office for a free consultation with a New Orleans car accident attorney. Our attorneys are familiar with how insurance companies handle accident claims; therefore, we know the best way to protect your rights. We work diligently to ensure that you are treated fairly and not taken advantage of during a time when you need help.
Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation. We accept most car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you don’t pay anything up front for our attorney fees and you don’t owe any attorney fees if we don’t win your case. Therefore, it doesn’t cost you anything to receive competent legal advice, so there is no reason to try to handle your claim alone.