Pennsylvania requires all drivers and passengers in the front seat to buckle up. This is why victims of car accidents who were not wearing their seat belts at the time of an accident may be unsure if they can still pursue injury compensation.
Each case is unique, so our Harrisburg car accident attorneys cannot determine the answer to this question until we review your claim. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer who can explain how your claim may be affected.
Pennsylvania’s Mandatory Seat Belt Law
The law requires drivers and front seat passengers who are at least 18 years old to wear seat belts. The police cannot pull a driver over simply for not wearing a seat belt, but if they stop you for another traffic violation and see you are breaking the seat belt law, they can write another ticket for it.
The law also says drivers under the age of 18 must be buckled up, along with passengers under 18 years of age, whether they are in the front or back. Not wearing a seat belt is considered a primary offense for drivers or passengers under 18, which means police can pull these drivers over simply for not wearing a seat belt.
Pennsylvania law also requires children to be buckled up in appropriate child safety seats:
- Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the weight and height limits for the seat
- Children under age four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat
- Children between the ages of four and eight must be restrained in a booster seat
How Not Wearing a Seat Belt Could Affect an Injury Claim
Some states allow defendants to use the “seat belt defense” to shield themselves from liability for car accident damages or reduce the value of the injury victim’s damages. In these states, the victim can be considered partially responsible for his or her own injuries for failing to exercise reasonable care.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania law prohibits the use of the seat belt defense. The law states that violation of the seat belt law cannot be “used by an insurer for any purpose.” Therefore, the insurance company cannot argue your failure to wear a seat belt should reduce the value of your claim or allow them to deny the claim altogether.
However, some nationwide insurance companies may be unaware of this limitation or may simply disregard it to try to bully accident victims into accepting lowball settlements.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Assistance
If you were injured in an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact the knowledgeable personal injury team at Schmidt Kramer. Our lawyers can discuss how your claim may be impacted by not wearing a seat belt and determine if you may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, so we charge no fees unless we help you recover compensation for your claim through an insurance settlement or court verdict. There is no risk in contacting us to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation. (717) 888-8888