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 LawThere 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