Can I Recover Damages If I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt After a Car Accident?
Nobody wants to be involved in a vehicle accident, but the reality is that accidents are not uncommon throughout Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were more than 319,000 total vehicle crashes during the latest year across the state. While most people generally understand that wearing a seatbelt increases safety, it is important to know whether or not you can recover compensation for your injuries if you are involved in an accident while not wearing your seatbelt. If you have been involved in an accident, contact our Chicago car accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
Not Wearing A Seatbelt In A Car Accident And Your Insurance Claim in Chicago
You can absolutely file a car insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if you are injured in an accident and were not wearing your seatbelt at the time the incident occurred. In Illinois, the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time a crash occurred will have no bearing on your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
Many states across the country employ a “seatbelt defense” law that can significantly reduce the amount of compensation a person receives if they were not wearing their seatbelt at the time a crash occurs, even if the other party caused the incident. Typically, these states will use some form of modified comparative negligence to reduce the amount of compensation the injury victim receives if they were not wearing a seatbelt. In these states, it is usually argued that a person failed to mitigate damages by not wearing their seatbelt.
However, Illinois is not one of the states to employ a seatbelt defense law. In fact, there are actually laws prohibiting the evidence of non-seatbelt use in this state. Car accident injury victims are free to pursue full compensation for their injuries even if they fail to wear a seatbelt behind the wheel.
What Type Of Compensation Can You Recover In These Cases?
If you or a loved one are injured in a vehicle accident caused by the actions of another driver, you should be entitled to various types of compensation, whether through a settlement with the other driver’s insurance carrier or through a personal injury lawsuit verdict. The types of compensation that accident injury victims typically recover include the following:
- Coverage of all medical bills
- Compensation for physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Coverage of prescription medications and medical devices
- Lost wages if a victim cannot work while they recover
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damage
- Property damage losses
The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the facts related to each particular situation, but a skilled Illinois car accident lawyer will help you through this process. An attorney can use their resources to obtain all evidence necessary to prove the liability of the other party and help calculate your total losses.
Buckle Up When You Get Behind The Wheel
Just because you can still recover compensation from an at-fault party if you are involved in a crash but not wearing your seatbelt does not mean that you should forgo wearing a seatbelt at all. Seatbelts have been proven to save lives. It will be much better to seek compensation for minor injuries you sustain in an accident in which you were wearing your seatbelt than for major injuries you sustain because you did not have a seatbelt on.