Friday, September 25, 2009

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt is An Act of Negligence

Seven teenagers aged 15 to 20 sustained minor to major injuries after the Honda car they were riding slammed into a parked big rig at an onramp to Highway 99 in Selma.

Apparently, the car was travelling south and exited Highway 99 at about 80 mph and failed to stop at the stop sign at Second Street.

They ended up in a rear-end collision with a big rig that was parked on the left shoulder.

According to reports, four of them were not wearing seatbelts during the collision.
The passengers could all file for personal injuries against either the parked truck driver if he committed any traffic infraction or against the driver of the car they were riding.

From the details of the report, the most liable party in the car accident though is the driver of the Honda car.

Running at 80 mph, which is beyond the speed limit and failing to stop at a stop sign can be considered by the courts as reckless driving, therefore a negligent act.

However, the conditions of the accident could affect the decision and the damages that will be given by the court.

Since four of the six passengers (excluding the driver) were not wearing a seatbelt during the car vehicle collision, the defendant could argue that those four had committed some comparative negligence.

Since the California seatbelt law requires that all vehicle riders wear a safety belt, the 6 passengers had a duty to wear their seatbelt while inside the car.

By not wearing a seatbelt, the four have breached or failed to fulfill that duty.

The defendant may also argue that the injuries may have been caused or has been aggravated by not wearing a seatbelt in the first place.

They could still win the case, but it would not be surprising if the amount of damages awarded would be significantly smaller compared to those who wore seatbelts.
We should all remember that the laws passed federally and by the state gives us a duty to follow it; failure to do so is an act of negligence.