Can You Access Compensation If You Weren’t Wearing Your Safety Restraint?


Wearing a seatbelt is probably the first lesson that anyone receives about riding in a car. It’s likely that you were wearing a seatbelt or safety restraint before you can remember, probably before you could walk. But what happens when you get into a crash the one time that you forgot to buckle up? Or what happens when your seat belt is locked and won’t roll out for you?

We have answers to some of the most common questions that come with safety restraints and safety equipment in vehicles. Car accidents happen at the most unexpected times, and most of the time we see these restraints as the “just in case” safety factor.

What Qualifies as Safety Equipment?

A vehicle comes with a wide variety of safety equipment and not only must you use them correctly but also, maintain them. Safety equipment includes seat belts, mirrors, bumpers, shatter-proof windows or windshields, airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, and more.

Not having or not using any of these safety devices during the time of the crash can impact your claim. That means that if you were not wearing your seatbelt then you may have a reduced compensation or that the insurance company may attempt to deny the claim. The trouble is that this comes up with trivial issues such as missing a mirror or having a crack in the windshield.

Can Insurance Companies Refuse a Payout?

When you’re seeking a payout from the insurance company you’re asking them to make good on their end of your contract or agreement. Because Florida relies on their no-fault system it means that you’ve been making payments to them and now it’s time for them to payout for compensation.

But, can an insurance company refuse to payout? Absolutely. They can claim that you voided the agreement in one way or another. Then they may claim that they’re doing you a favor by providing a partial payout or an extremely low settlement. This is how insurance companies work best, they make consumers feel like they should get nothing and that they’re lucky to get anything.

That is not how this process should work. If anything, insurance companies should have this available as an extremely rare excuse to payout. One of the most commonly cited reasons to refuse a payout, however, is fairly reasonable. When drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol many insurance companies will deny those claims.

Proper Use and Maintenance of Safety Equipment

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for the proper maintenance of the safety equipment within their vehicle. They are also responsible for using the equipment properly. 

To see this in action we can look at a crash involving someone who failed to replace a side mirror from a previous crash. They were responsible for making that repair and if that contributed to the wreck the insurance company might use it as an excuse. Then there’s the possibility of not using your seatbelt correctly. If you only used the lap belt and tucked the other behind your back the device is ineffective.

Of course with the no-fault policy, it should never be a matter of fault contribution or contribution to injuries.

What Happens When You’re Hurt in a Wreck

when you’re hurt in a Tampa wreck you have two courses of action. The first and most common is to file through your PIP coverage for a claim. The other option is to pursue compensation in a civil lawsuit against the other driver.

The second method for compensation is not as straightforward as the first option. Not everyone has access to file a lawsuit against the other driver and it does not always produce compensation for the damages.

Tampa Florida Car Accident Attorneys

Tampa accident attorneys often sort out the difficult questions and bring light to what you should expect during a claim. It’s possible that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, or perhaps that your vehicle’s safety restraints weren’t functioning properly.  The trouble is that you were hurt and need compensation. You may need to take quick and decisive legal action to access compensation through your Personal Injury Protection plan or through a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Keep in mind that in Florida you can only pursue compensation from the at-fault driver if there was extreme negligence. But in many cases, people find that they’re filing claims through PIP coverage. That is perfectly fine, as long as you fight for the compensation that you need. You can do this with Winters Yonker.


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