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Seat Belt Use and the Effect on Personal Injury Claims in New York Car Accidents

Since 1975, seat belts have been responsible for saving over 250,000 lives across the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most of us can hardly remember a time when seat belts weren’t available in all passenger vehicles. While most drivers and passengers are careful to buckle up whenever they’re in a motor vehicle, some still neglect to use this simple tool to protect their lives.

If you’ve been the victim of a crash in New York in which you weren’t wearing your seat belt, you may face complications when seeking money damages from the at-fault driver. Rather than risk your recovery by trying to seek damages alone, let us help. Contact the knowledgeable and compassionate Orange County accident lawyers at Dupée & Monroe for a free consultation on your claim as soon as possible after a crash.

New York legal requirements for seat belt and restraint use

Under the laws of New York, anyone over age 16 seated in the front seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Law enforcement officers can issue a ticket to either the driver or passenger personally for failure to wear a seat belt. Passengers under 16 must wear an age-appropriate restraint when seated in the back of the vehicle as well. Teens and pre-teens can wear seat belts, but for children under age 8, that means either a child safety seat (for children under 4) or a booster seat (for children between ages 4 and 8). If a driver has not ensured that their child passengers are buckled in, they can face not only a financial penalty, but also points on their driver’s license.

The seat belt defense

Failing to wear a seat belt can also have other consequences for accident victims seeking damages after a crash. New York State allows an at-fault driver being sued for negligence to use what’s known as the seat belt defense. Under this defense, if the victim of the accident was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, they can be required to cover all or a portion of the costs of their injuries resulting from the crash.

However, the crash victim may still be able to recover for their injuries by proving that they would have received the same or similar injuries even if they had been wearing a seat belt, or by showing that no functioning seat belt was available for them to use. In cases such as these, it is critical to find experienced legal help to argue your case. The lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have been fighting for the rights of accident victims in New York for years, and they can help you get the funds you deserve after an accident.

Call Attorneys Dupée & Monroe in Goshen after a Serious Hudson Valley Car Accident

If you need help getting the money you’re owed after an accident in New York, contact the dedicated and effective Goshen personal injury lawyers at Dupée & Monroe for a free consultation, at 845-294-8900.

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