The Seat Belt Defense-When and Where to Use It

seat belt

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC),wearing a seatbelt reduces severe car accident injury risks by around 50%.

The law thus requires car drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while on the road. It keeps you safe during a car crash and helps avoid the seatbelt defense when claiming compensation.

Now, you may wonder what is seatbelt defense and how it can affect your auto accident lawsuit.

And what should you do if the defendant uses this defense against your claim?

This post explains more about seatbelt defense so you can prepare for your car accident case.

Understanding the Seatbelt Defense

The seatbelt defense revolves around proving that seatbelts can affect the outcome of a car accident. Therefore, the injured victim could have sustained lesser or no injuries if they had used the seatbelt during a car crash.

The defendant’s party will use this defense to damage the plaintiff’s injury compensation claim. Defense lawyers usually hire accident reconstruction experts to determine the injuries the victim could have prevented with proper seatbelt use. They will then reduce the equivalent compensation amount for those injuries.

For example, imagine you encountered a car crash and sustained head trauma upon hitting the dashboard. You then claim $50,000 from the at-fault driver as compensation for your injuries.

However, suppose the defendant presents video footage proving you were not wearing your seatbelt during the crash. In that case, they can use the seatbelt defense to reduce your compensation, arguing that a seatbelt could help avoid head trauma.

On a side note, some USA states don’t allow seatbelt defense in injury litigations. So, check if your state permits this legal defense for you to prepare if necessary.

Hiring a Glendale auto accident attorney helps you understand how seatbelt defense works in California and how to protect your case from it.

Your Claim from the Seatbelt Defense


Your auto accident attorney may use different arguments to counter the seatbelt defense. These points can prevent or minimize a reduction in your compensation.

  1. Your legal representative may argue that you are not wearing the seatbelt doesn’t count as negligence leading to the car crash. The court may thus ignore the seatbelt defense when calculating compensation.
  2. Wearing the safety belt won’t mitigate your injuries after a car crash. This argument applies against the mitigation of damage or the plaintiff’s responsibility to minimize their injuries after the accident.
  3. The eggshell plaintiff doctrine states that the defendant should take a plaintiff’s condition as they find them. So, the defendant cannot argue that a preexisting condition before the accident had caused worse injuries. For instance, they cannot say you sustained head trauma because you don’t wear a safety belt.
  4. You are not liable for failing to anticipate the at-fault driver’s negligence that caused the car crash. It means you are not accountable for not wearing a safety belt, as you didn’t expect another driver to be negligent.
  5. It is impossible to accurately determine the injuries you could have prevented with a seatbelt. Your lawyer will thus try to prove the inaccuracy of the defendant’s reduced benefits calculations.

Call an Auto Accident Lawyer in Glendale to Save Your Case from Seatbelt Defense

Wearing a seatbelt is vital to keep you safe when driving or riding a car.

However, don’t allow the seatbelt defense to damage your auto accident case and significantly reduce your compensation. You must prepare the best arguments to disprove this defense and win your case.

A Glendale auto accident attorney will protect your case from the seatbelt defense.

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