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What happens to my compensation if I wasn't wearing my seatbelt?

It's natural to feel overwhelmed and a little nervous after a car accident. After all, you probably didn't plan on getting into an accident or prepare yourself for the steps you need to take afterwards. As such, you probably have a lot of questions, especially if you suffered injuries in the crash.

One of the biggest concerns a lot of people have after a crash is how much compensation they will receive. Most people want to make sure their bills and expenses are fully covered and as little as possible comes from out of pocket. However, negligence can be a factor into an accident case, leading to this often asked question:

What happens to my compensation if I wasn't wearing my seatbelt?

Even if you only have a vague familiarity with the law, you know that negligence is defined as the failure to take proper care in doing something. Some argue that wearing your seatbelt is a sign that you are taking care of your own well-being and that by failing to wear a seat belt, you are acting negligently. When you consider Georgia's contributory negligence law, it's not hard to see why so many ask the question above.

Georgia's contributory negligence law works like this: Fault is assessed to all parties involved in a crash, including the plaintiff if applicable. As long as the plaintiff's fault is less than the defendant, then compensation may be sought. Compensation the plaintiff receives is reduced by the portion of fault the plaintiff had.

But does this apply if a plaintiff wasn't wearing their seatbelt?

The answer to this question is no. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1, failure to wear your seatbelt cannot be used as evidence of negligence and therefore cannot be used to cancel coverage or diminished damages.

It's important to point out that though your failure to wear a seatbelt may not count as negligence in your case, other forms of negligence can. Speaking with a skilled personal injury attorney will help you understand which forms of negligence apply in accident cases and which forms do not.

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