Can I recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?

Can I recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?

not wearing a seatbelt in an auto accidentAuto accidents can be very frightening. While it is unsafe to not wear a seatbelt where required by law, there are many cases when one or more persons in a car accident aren’t wearing one. Sometimes, it is the victim that suffered many damages and needs to sue to recover full damages.

If you are not wearing a seatbelt in an auto accident, you are still able to recover damages, according to Louisiana state law in R.S. 32:295.1, Section E.  While not wearing your seatbelt may be considered by the judge or jury, not wearing a seatbelt does not bar you from filing suit or collecting full and fair compensation for your injuries.

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How Seatbelt Laws Work in Louisiana

The State of Louisiana’s seatbelt law is defined in R.S. 32:295.1. It states that every driver of a passenger car, van, sports utility vehicle, or truck that weighs 26,000 pounds or less needs to have a seatbelt properly fastened at all times while moving in a forward motion.

Safety is paramount, and the Legislature has recognized that wearing a seatbelt is such a basic and easy manner of protecting yourself.  If you don’t do it, you may be considered negligent in failing to protect yourself from the risk of a collision. However, the new law does not automatically find you at fault for not wearing a seatbelt, it simply allows the insurance company to bring it up in trial as evidence, and it will be up to the jury to decide how to handle it.


Possible Damages You Can Recover After an Auto Accident

Car accidents vary in severity. Many damages can be recovered without a lawsuit, but in some cases, a lawsuit is the only way that a victim can recover damages in full. While a car accident lawsuit can be complex, an experienced car accident attorney can guide you on the path to proving the negligence of the other party and receive the compensation you deserve.

Damages that are commonly recovered after a car accident include but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle and property damage, such as damage to your vehicle or personal possessions
  • Medical costs from physical and mental injuries, including treatment, prescriptions, medical equipment, hospital fees, and more
  • Lost wages, such as time off work due to medical appointments or therapy or an injury that causes the inability to perform your job properly
  • Wrongful death, which is a lawsuit that is usually brought on by the victim’s family
  • Pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and more

These common car accident damages can cause both temporary and long-term changes and effects, which can all be recovered in a court of law. For example, permanent disfigurement can change the course of your life. Depending on the damages at hand, a top lawyer will help you analyze and pinpoint every area of compensation that you are entitled to by law. 


What To Do If You’ve Been In an Accident

If you’ve been in an auto accident, stay right where you are and call the police immediately. Without the police involved, you won’t have proper documentation of the accident, which can cause problems with recovering damages in full.

Begin to analyze the circumstances and any damages you see, including any injuries you have. You’ll need to exchange basic information with the other driver, including name, address, driver’s license, and license plate number.

Once the police arrive, they can help with any immediate medical needs and will begin to gather evidence for the report. They will interview any parties involved, including witnesses. Beyond the police report, you’ll want to gather your own evidence with pictures, videos, and more to show any damages or important information to have for your case.

After the accident is settled with the police, call your insurance provider to report the accident and give them the basic details of the accident. Once you finish with the police, you should be seen by a doctor to make sure the shock of the accident isn’t covering up any lingering injuries or issues that can cause you issues in the future. And call an experienced lawyer who handles car wreck cases. The sooner you are represented, the better off you should be with the right lawyer in your corner.

If their insurance company won’t settle fairly for you and your injuries, the Johnson Firm prepares every single case for trial for a reason. We are not afraid to fight for your rights, and we’ve done it for our clients many times. Make sure you choose a car accident lawyer who knows what they are doing and stands behind proven results from tried cases. We will make sure you are justly compensated for your injuries, pain, and emotional distress. 


Get Help with Your Auto Accident from The Johnson Firm

The Johnson Firm is a trusted Lake Charles law team that has the experience and record of success you want from a Lake Charles car accident lawyer. Whether you have questions about a possible case or you need guidance in your lawsuit against the at-fault party, The Johnson Firm will guide you on the best path for success in your case and aggressively fight for justice on your behalf.

To schedule a consultation today, call 337-427-8961 or send us a message to get in touch with our top team today!


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Every person deserves and experienced and compassionate lawyer to represent them in their personal injury claim. Choose a lawyer who isn’t afraid to take those to trial who try to deny or minimize your claim.

Our attorneys will thoroughly examine every detail of your case and fight to make sure your injuries are justly compensated. We have a passion for the truth and will challenge anyone who attempts to obscure it.