Am I entitled to damages if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt?

Posted on May 28, 2014

Last week, we discussed how Louisiana law enforcement is taking part in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign in effort to get more motorists to wear their seatbelts.

As we discussed, not only is it required by law to wear a seatbelt when driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle in Louisiana, but doing so is also proven to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

However, as accident statistics clearly show, not all drivers or passengers in Louisiana follow the seatbelt law, which begs an important question that we raised at the end of our last post:

  • If a person is injured in a car accident and was not wearing a seatbelt, is he or she still entitled to damages from another negligent driver who caused the accident?

According to Louisiana Revised Statute 32:295.1E, the fact that an accident victim may not have been wearing a seatbelt cannot be held against them during “any action to recover damages arising out of … the operation of a vehicle.”

The law states that evidence an accident victim was not wearing a seatbelt “shall not be considered evidence of comparative negligence” or “admitted to mitigate damages” in such claims.

Essentially, what this means is that even though the accident victim was technically violating the law by not wearing a seatbelt and could be ticketed for the violation, a claim against an at-fault driver will not be barred or reduced because of the seatbelt violation.

With that said, it’s still very important to wear a seatbelt at all times to help prevent a ticket, and more importantly, serious injuries or death in a motor vehicle accident.

  • For more information on personal injury claims following car accidents in the state of Louisiana, please visit ourMotor Vehicle Accidents page.