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The Personal Costs of Failing to Strap Yourself into your Motor Vehicle

Michael Ehline at the court
The United States Supreme Court

There are still a few people out there who think not wearing a seatbelt is safer than getting strapped in before operating a car. As a car accident attorney, Los Angeles has proven to me that is false. These mean streets and risks of getting T-boned or hit from behind are very real. Because of this, I believe seatbelts help mitigate many injuries and even death. Here, I will explain why.

Passenger Harm

Often in a crash passengers or drivers become ejected from the vehicle. So when not wearing seat belts in this situation, this causes serious injury or death. It’s possible this is avoidable if strapped into the car. Conversely,  not being strapped in can lead to medical treatment for life-threatening injuries, or worse. It’s not possible to say the person would not suffer injuries either way of course.

Belted in, the person would not worry about ejection from the vehicle. After this kind of harm, recovery can take extensive time to heal. But it can become a permanent disability. Often in these crashes, the driver or other passengers wearing seat belts suffer minor injuries or none.


These kind of accidents are all too common. Because of people not wearing seat belts in a collision they the people most severely hurt. Most states have seat belt laws. They require either everyone in the car to wear a seatbelt or children under a certain age. Many drivers and passengers in a vehicle ignore wearing their seat belt. For a variety of reasons. Most common complaints are the straps become uncomfortable. Another is they do not believe that safety belt provides protection or it is not cool to wear.

Top Points

Car accidents without seat belts can be tragic for many reasons including:

  • There is a high risk of injury. Seat belts are known as a means of preventing or limiting injury in an auto crash. The driver and passengers are not wearing a seatbelt risk serious injury. They risk ejection from the vehicle.
  • Not wearing a seat belt has a bearing on a legal claim. When hurt in a car collision it can reduce a settlement. Also, in California, you could be denied damages for pain and suffering. Depending on the seatbelt laws in your state; it could have a significant effect on seeking compensation.
  • If the harm suffered is enhanced because a safety belt is not worn you can bear a percentage of fault. So when you contribute to fault in accident rates are deducted from a settlement amount.
  • Auto insurance may increase if you use it to recover damages for your injuries when a safety belt is unworn. The cost of the insurance could not decrease substantially. You may also have limits or even a denial. Insurers consider belts a protective measure ignored. So they dislike paying these claims.
  • California law provides relief for injured victims of auto crashes. The claims are often complex when everyone in the vehicle wore a seat belt. It’s more complicated to get damages if seatbelts were not worn. Because of this, the injuries could be more severe. That said, the victim contributed to their injuries by not wearing a safety belt.

What are the NHTSA Statistics?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows car accidents without seatbelts cost more. Crash victims that did not wear the belt remain in the hospital 3 to 5 times longer. Their medical costs are about between 2 and 7 percent higher. Compare this to a person wearing a seatbelt, which is much lower. Also, ongoing medical care is required adding to the cost.

Furthermore, parents act as role models. Studies show children emulate parents. So whether a parent wears or a seatbelt or not could mean life or death for a child. The study conducted by the NHTSA the data showed children wear seat belts 94% of the time. If the parent wears their safety belt, so does the kid. But when the driver is not wearing a safety belt about 30% of the time children wear their belts.

By not wearing a seat belt it increases the risk of harm. It also increased medical bills. Also, raises the danger of being legally liable. Also, this remains a bad habit that will affect children riding in the vehicle. And this is because it teaches them unsafe practices.

If you or loved one get in a crash while not wearing a seat belt you may still make a claim. Even if your injuries were more severe due to the lack of a safety belt, contact us. Our accomplished car accident lawyers for a free consultation.


Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline sufferred a horrific rollover accident when he was young. Dealing with his injury lawyers, and the medical industrial complex made Mike want to study law. So after his tour in the U.S. Marines, and running several small businesses, Ehline went for it. Check out some of his Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Verdicts and Settlements. Now Ehline is a highly successful, ambitious car crash lawyer. He operates, which is an accident and injury law practice based in Los Angeles, CA.

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