In the state of California, all occupants in a moving vehicle must wear a seat belt. The primary personal injury statute in California that establishes the obligation to wear seat belts for adults is Vehicle Code 27315 VC. This section states that anyone 16 years of age or older must wear a seat belt when driving a vehicle; or when traveling as a passenger in a car. However, children under 16 must also have a safety device that fulfills the same function, be it a booster seat or an appropriate safety seat in the case of babies.
Not wearing your seat belt can have severe consequences if you are involved in an accident. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), in 2019, about 22,000 people were killed in car accidents. 47% of them were not wearing a seat belt at the time of impact. According to car accident statistics, in 2017, seat belts saved approximately 14,995 lives, and 2,549 more people could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts.
Violating the seat belt law in California can result in a fine that can range from $162 for an adult and from $465 for children under 16 years of age.
We know how important it is to use them, and not only because of the injuries they can prevent but also because failure to do so could affect a personal injury claim should you decide to file one.
If you or a loved one are involved in a situation like this, California law states that the victim can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for their injuries. However, this amount could be drastically reduced if the judge considered or the defense could prove that wearing a seat belt could have prevented your injuries or their severity.
For example, if you wanted to request an amount of $50,000 in compensation, the judge might decide to reduce this amount because you were partially at fault for the injuries. If you or a loved one are in a situation like this, give us a call today! Our California car accident lawyers would be happy to talk about your case and answer your questions.
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