When you are injured in an accident for which you are not at fault, you
are entitled to seek damages for these injuries, which can be especially
crucial if you have a long and costly recovery ahead of you. There are
some states in which this claim can be reduced if you were not wearing
a seat belt when the accident occurred, known as the “seat belt
defense”. Missouri is one of 15 states that allows a version of
this controversial defense.
The seat belt defense does not only apply to the driver of the vehicle,
but it might apply to any unbuckled passengers who may have been in the
car during the accident. Since personal injury litigation revolves around
determining who is at fault for causing injury or damage, this defense
is often used to deflect liability by the insurance companies, who try
and argue that because an individual did not have a seat belt on, they
are partially liable for their own injuries, under a “comparative
negligence” or “failure to mitigate damages” theory.
It is important to note that not every state that allows this defense applies
it uniformly. In Missouri, even when an insurance company successfully
asserts the seat belt defense, it only reduces the plaintiff’s damage
award by 1%. In Wisconsin, this defense can decrease a damage award by
up to 15%.
At Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C., our Springfield auto accident attorneys have
recovered more than $7 billion in verdicts and settlements since the inception
of our firm over 40 years ago. We only operate on a contingency fee basis,
so you pay no fees unless we win your case.
We offer free initial consultations, so call our firm today to see how
we can help you pursue justice and the compensation you deserve. (417) 855-2022