Some insurance companies are willing to accept the fact that their policyholder was at fault for an accident if they have enough evidence that says this is true. But, other insurance companies won’t go down without a fight. One of the most common strategies that is used by the at-fault party’s insurance company in a car accident claim is known as the seatbelt defense.
What is the Seatbelt Defense?
Countless studies have shown that wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to protect yourself in a car accident. Despite this research, it is estimated that only 85% of people in the state of Colorado wear their seatbelts.
Now, let’s say you were injured in a car accident that was clearly caused by the other driver. If you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash, the at-fault party could try to use the seatbelt defense. This means the at-fault party will try to prove that you would not have been injured or would not have suffered such serious injuries if you been responsible enough to wear your seatbelt. Basically, the defendant is attempting to reduce his liability by saying that you were partially or totally responsible for your injuries.
The Seatbelt Defense & Comparative Negligence
Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means personal injury victims may still be able to recover compensation even if they were partially to blame for the accident. But, victims cannot recover compensation if they were 50% or more responsible for their injuries. Therefore, the seatbelt defense can be used to reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the plaintiff.
For example, let’s say you suffer a concussion and broken bones in a car crash. Then, the defendant successfully proves that you would not have suffered a concussion if you were wearing your seatbelt, but you would have still suffered broken bones. As a result, the court finds that 30% of the liability falls on you, while the remaining 70% falls on the defendant. This means the amount of compensation that you are awarded will be decreased by 30%, so the seatbelt defense was successful. If the court finds that you are 50% or more responsible for your injuries, the defendant will not have to compensate you at all.
If you were not wearing a seatbelt when you were injured in a crash, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will be prepared to fight the seatbelt defense and recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.