Could the Law See You As Partly Responsible for Your Injuries?
Don Cordell Bryant made the last mistake he will ever make when he failed to buckle up on January 15. The 56-year-old Shalotte resident was killed instantly when he was thrown from his car as it veered off the road and flipped over. Police have not yet ruled out the possibility of alcohol playing a role in the accident.
Nationally, thousands of people die needlessly every year because they failed to buckle up. Here in North Carolina, the law requires that you wear a seat belt, and those who fail to buckle up face fines ranging from $10-$25 plus court costs, when applicable. These fines apply to drivers as well as passengers, even those sitting in the back seat.
Those who fail to buckle up could lose a more significant amount of money if they choose to sue for monetary damages following an accident. Under North Carolina’s tort rules, if the insurance company is able to prove that your injuries were due in part or in full to your own negligence or failure to mitigate damages (e.g., you didn’t wear your seat belt), then they can reduce or even eliminate your ability to recover a settlement or damages. In North Carolina, contributory negligence is a complete bar to recovery against the at-fault driver
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, regardless of whether or not you were wearing a seat belt, it is vital that you obtain representation from a qualified personal injury attorney who can represent your interests. The insurance companies will have lawyers working hard on their side to reduce the amount they pay out, so it is well worth your while to have help from your own lawyer.