Further Information

Between May 24th and June 13th 2021, the Joint Operations Unit (JOU) of Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police supported the National Police Chiefs’ Council seatbelt campaign, which highlighted the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt.

During the campaign, the police caught 342 people not wearing a seatbelt (https://www.andoveradvertiser.co.uk/news/19401574.police-catch-342-people-not-wearing-seatbelt-campaign/) In this article, we look at the dangers involved with not wearing a seatbelt and whether you can still claim compensation for a road traffic accident if you were not wearing one.

Seatbelts

When travelling in a motor vehicle, it is unlawful for occupants, including children over the age of 12, to fail to wear a seatbelt. Children between the ages of three to 12 years of age (up to 135cm in height) must use child restraints, and those under the age of three must use an appropriate child seat. Seatbelts are now fitted in commercial buses, so gradually, the number of buses exempt from passengers wearing seat belts will reduce. There are some exemptions to wearing a seatbelt, which include a person with a medical certificate, which states on medical grounds it is not advisable to wear a seatbelt (including for pregnancy), drivers performing manoeuvres which include reversing, and a disabled person who is wearing a disabled person’s belt.

Dangers of not wearing a seatbelt

Wearing a seatbelt will protect you and others from serious personal injuries or even death. Injuries can include internal bleeding and organ damage, broken bones, facial injuries, whiplash, paralysis, spinal cord injury and brain injury. It is vitally important to wear a seat belt – failing to do so can have a devastating effect on the quality of a person’s life.

Can I make a claim for compensation if I was not wearing a seatbelt?

It may be possible to make a claim for compensation if you were involved in a road traffic accident and not wearing your seatbelt, however the amount of damages you may be able to claim will be much lower than if you were wearing a seatbelt.  In strict legal terms, you could be deemed partly responsible for your injuries; this is known as ‘contributory negligence’.

Contributory negligence

The term, ‘contributory negligence’ is used when the person injured in an accident is also partly to blame. Choosing to not wear a seat belt in a car would be an example of contributory negligence, and in these cases, it is likely that there will be a reduction in your damages of 20% or more. Evidence will need to be supplied by the Defendant to support any allegations of contributory negligence. If you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and you have suffered injuries, it is important that you seek legal advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor. Contact Alma Law today:   T: 01264 355477 E: contact@almalaw.co.uk

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