Time To Fasten The Belt…
… because the split second decision not to can cost you. Curious?
Did you know that if you are involved in an accident and are injured at the fault of another, driving or being a passenger in a car without wearing your seatbelt can lead to an automatic deduction of up to 25% of your compensation?
The law states that drivers and passengers must wear their seatbelt unless they are exempt. The point of the seatbelt is to protect drivers and passengers from death or catastrophic injuries in the event of a collision. In fact, studies show that wearing a seatbelt can prevent fatal injuries by 50%, are 45% effective at preventing serious injuries and 25% effective at preventing minor injuries.
So, why the deduction might you ask?
Contributory negligence is a term used to describe where a person who is injured is also partly to blame for the accident or their injuries sustained. So if you are travelling as a passenger in a vehicle fitted with seatbelts and you choose not to wear one, if the vehicle is involved in a collision, there is an argument that you may have contributed to making your injuries worse.
What are the exemptions?
There are instances where you do not need to wear a seatbelt. Examples of those include:
- If you are travelling on, for example a bus, that isn’t fitted with seatbelts;
- If you are a delivery driver travelling less than 50 metres between making deliveries or collections;
- You have a medical exemption certificate.
There are also other exemptions for emergency services such as those driving ambulances, police cars and fire engines.
Can I still bring a claim if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?
The answer is yes, not wearing your seatbelt does not automatically prevent you from bringing a claim. The law in this area is not fixed but general guidance has been given by the courts. For example:
- If your injuries would have been avoided had you been wearing a seatbelt, then your compensation could be reduced by 25%;
- If your injuries would have been less serious if you were wearing a seatbelt, then your compensation could be reduced by 15%;
- If you can prove that your injuries would have been exactly the same if you were wearing a seatbelt, then your compensation should not be reduced.
However, each case is different and therefore the Court may impose whatever reduction it considers fair and reasonable.