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Can I File a Car Accident Claim if I Was Not Wearing My Seat Belt?

Seat belts have been shown to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries in many crashes. Like many states, Nevada has laws about buckling up. However, how do these laws impact you if you were involved in a crash while not wearing a seat belt? Can you still seek compensation for your damages? At High Stakes Injury Law, we answer a lot of questions and win a lot of claims for our clients. If you were not wearing a seat belt but did not cause the crash, you may still have a valid claim. Every case is different, however. To learn more about your legal options, we recommend discussing your situation further with one of our experienced Las Vegas auto accident attorneys.

What Are Nevada’s Seat Belt Laws?

Seat belts are required in Nevada. It does not matter whether you are the driver, an adult passenger, a child or an infant. Every person riding in a vehicle must be buckled up, even those riding in the back seat. Specifically, Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 484D.495) states that everyone in the car must properly wear a safety belt and shoulder harness at all times while the vehicle is moving. This includes every person who is either six years or older or who weighs 60 pounds or more.

Some People Are Exempt From Nevada’s Seat Belt Law

There are certain exemptions to Nevada’s seat belt laws, including:
  • Postal service workers who deliver the mail and have to stop frequently
  • Delivery drivers who have to make frequent stops and go no faster than 15 mph
  • People who travel using public transportation where there are no available seat belts
  • Individuals who have a doctor’s note excusing them from buckling up for medical reasons

Are There Penalties For Not Wearing a Seat Belt in Nevada?

Yes, violators are fined $25 for not wearing a seat belt and it is a misdemeanor offense that goes on your criminal record. Since it is a non-moving violation, offenders do not get any license points. If an offender fails to respond to the ticket, the court may issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

Does Not Wearing a Seat Belt Keep Victims From Filing a Claim?

The at-fault party may try to argue that by not wearing a seat belt, you are partially to blame for your damages. In short, your injuries would likely not have been as severe had you been wearing your seat belt. However, Nevada does not have a fully developed seat belt defense law. Under NRS 484D.495(4)(b) and (c), the at-fault party cannot use the seat belt defense to prevent you from filing a claim. Specifically, not wearing a seat belt:
  • Cannot be considered as negligence or causation in any civil action
  • Cannot be considered as reckless or negligent driving
  • May not be considered as either a misuse or abuse of a product
  • May not be considered as causation in any action brought to recover damages for an injured person or for property that results from the manufacture, distribution, sale or use of a product
Crash victims who were not wearing their seat belts cannot be prevented from filing a personal injury claim.

How Comparative Negligence May Affect a Car Crash Claim

Nevada follows a comparative negligence fault system. What this means is that even if you are assessed with any fault for your accident, you may still have a claim. If you are no more than 50 percent at fault for causing the collision, you can still bring a claim. However, if you are more than 50 percent liable for your crash, you are fully barred from recovering any damages. If you find yourself in this situation, it is a good idea to speak to a qualified attorney to learn more about your legal options.

Could a Seat Belt Have Prevented the Accident From Happening?

Seat belts are an important safety feature, and wearing one is the best option for keeping you from serious harm in a crash. However, everyone forgets to put them on at times. This is especially true if someone is only going a short distance. There is an ongoing myth that if you are driving a short distance, a seat belt is not needed. However, most car crashes happen within a couple of miles from home. While buckling up does help to reduce the severity of a victim’s injuries, it would not have kept the crash from happening. The fact is, you would not have suffered an injury unless the crash happened.

We are Here to Help You. Call Our Firm to Learn More Today

If you have been injured in a crash while not wearing a seat belt, you may benefit from seeking legal help. At High Stakes Injury Law, we are not just another law firm, and our clients are never just another number. Call to learn more about your legal options today. There is no cost for your initial consultation. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or other fees to pay while your case is ongoing. We only get paid if you do.

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I Was Injured In An Accident. What Do I Do Now?

By Scott L. Poisson

  • Do I Have A Case?
  • Dealing With The Insurance Company
  • When a Lawsuit Is Filed
  • Overcoming Common Defense Themes
  • Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases