“Wear your seatbelt!” Many of us can envision a family member, sibling, or even driving instructor giving us the lecture about the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16% of drivers in the northeastern United States are still not using this life-saving safety measure, despite overwhelming evidence that seatbelts save lives.
Pennsylvania Seat Belt Usage
There were reports of over seven hundred car accidents and eight reported fatalities over the Christmas holiday (December 24-December 28), and according to the Pennsylvania State Police, not one of those who died was wearing a safety belt. Granted, 98 of the 728 crashes that investigators looked into also involved alcohol, making the driving conditions doubly dangerous.
Pennsylvania is one of the few remaining states that does not require backseat passengers to buckle up; though it may not be a legal requirement, it is certainly a smart move to use a seatbelt as a safety precaution. Additionally, failure to wear a seatbelt is merely a secondary offense in Pennsylvania, meaning an officer cannot pull you over solely for failing to wear a seat belt. The lack of stiffer laws or punishments governing seat belt use may be a contributing factor to the lack of seat belt usage throughout Pennsylvania.
Seat Belt Safety
Whatever the rationale for people deciding not to use seat belts, failing to wear a seat belt will often lead to death in catastrophic accidents. Not wearing a safety belt may cause:
- Ejection from your vehicle;
- Improper airbag deployment;
- Unsafe airbag deployment;
- Eye injuries; and/or
- Facial and cranial injuries.
Each of these injuries can be catastrophic and may often result in death. Many vehicles come equipped with seat belt alerts. Even if you only plug in your belt to stop your car alarm from beeping at you, you are doing the right thing with regards to your safety.
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania Auto Accident Attorneys
If you were in a car accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of another, you may be entitled to compensation. This may be the case even if all or part of your injury was exacerbated by the fact you may not have been wearing a seatbelt or following certain safety measures. Types of compensation you may be eligible for depend on the circumstances of your accident, but often include:
- Reimbursement or payment for medical expenses related to your accident or injury;
- Future medical expenses for catastrophic injury;
- Monetary compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering;
- Compensation for wages you lost from missing work due to your accident or injury; and/or
- Punitive, or non-compensatory, damages, which may be awarded to deter similarly situated individuals or entities from being involved in the type of accident.
The only way to know what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to is to contact an experienced, trustworthy auto accident lawyer in Philadelphia. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Solnick & Associates LLC know how to navigate these often complicated legal claims in order to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you can under the law. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call us to learn more about your legal rights.