Brooklyn, NY- Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. residents aged 1 to 54, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is why motorists should take whatever steps they can to prevent accidents and minimize their injuries. One of those steps is to wear a seat belt, which the CDC says will reduce a person’s chances of being killed in a traffic accident by half. Wearing a seat belt is not only the safe choice, it is also the law and not wearing one can have an impact on your personal injury claim.
USAttorneys urges all accident victims in Brooklyn, New York to contact an accident lawyer near them to set up an initial consultation. Our team of attorneys will listen to the details of your accident and will explain the courses of action you can take to obtain the compensation amount you need and deserve.
What is the seat belt defense?
When an accident victim files a personal injury or wrongful death suit, the insurance company and motorist they are suing will make attempts to reduce their liability for the accident. Placing some of the blame for an accident on the injured or deceased is one way, another is to invoke the seat belt defense.
The seat belt defense asserts that you are the victim are partially liable for your injuries because you were wearing a seat belt. Say for instance you were involved in a roll-over accident caused by the defendant and were ejected from your vehicle because you weren’t wearing a seat belt. You suffered serious injuries and are now seeking compensation, but the at-fault party is trying to keep their settlement payout low. They are going to insist that because you were not wearing a seat belt, you are partly to blame for the seriousness of your injuries and your settlement should be reduced accordingly.
The seat belt defense is possible because New York law applies a shared fault standard to personal injury and wrongful death claims. If you share fault for an accident or your injuries, the amount of compensation you recover will be reduced your degree or fault. Using the scenario described in the previous paragraph, the driver who caused the roll –over would be considered mostly at fault and is assigned 90 percent of responsibility for an accident. On the other hand, you weren’t wearing your seat belt, which made your injuries worse, so you must assume 10 percent of the liability. That means that any final settlement amount you receive will be reduced by your level of liability, in this case 10 percent.
Getting the amount of compensation you deserved is dependent on your ability to show who was at fault for your accident and how their actions caused you harm. You need someone on your side who understands the complexities of accident claims and knows the value of your injuries. An experienced accident lawyer in New York knows how to counter the seat belt defense and will build a solid injury claim on your behalf.

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