We all know that failure to wear your seat belt can get you a ticket if you get pulled over — not to mention that almost half of people killed in car crashes weren’t wearing their seat belts. But did you know that failing to wear your seatbelt can negatively affect your personal injury claim if someone else is responsible for your accident?
Establishing fault for causing a car accident is one thing, but even if the other driver is 100% at fault for causing the crash, Colorado law allows jurors to consider whether failing to wear a seat belt contributed to a plaintiff’s noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering.
Colorado’s Seat Belt Law
In Colorado, while jurors are not allowed to consider a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt for purposes of comparative negligence, they are allowed to consider whether a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt caused the plaintiff noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. If a jury determines that some or all of a plaintiff’s noneconomic damages were caused by failing to wear a seat belt, the jury shall not award those noneconomic damages to a plaintiff. The reasoning behind the law is that, while the lack of a seat belt may not have caused the accident itself, it’s often the cause of the pain and suffering sustained from injuries caused in the accident; therefore, the person who caused the accident shouldn’t be held liable for that pain and suffering
It may sound like a distinction without a difference to say that the failure to wear a seat belt can’t be considered for determining the parties’ relative fault for a crash, but then say that the failure to wear a seat belt affects a plaintiff’s recovery for pain and suffering. That’s where good legal representation comes in. Knowing the intricacies of Colorado’s seat belt law, and how to apply the facts of your particular case to the law, can make a difference between getting what you deserve and being taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Don’t Go It Alone
The fact is, motor vehicle accident cases are complicated. Without a detailed knowledge of the laws that apply to your case, and how to apply them, you could miss out on damages that you’re entitled to.
That’s why you need the help of the experienced legal minds at Mintz Law Firm. We’ve been handling car accident cases in Colorado for decades, and we bring a unique mix of expertise, compassion, and understanding. If you’ve been injured in an automotive accident, start with a free consultation today.