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Phone: 304.931.4088
The Miley Legal Group
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Toll Free 888.436.0859
Fax (304) 326-1801

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  • The Miley Legal Group
  • 229 West Main Street
    Clarksburg, WV 26301
  • Phone: 304.931.4088
  • Fax: (304) 326-1801
  • Toll Free: 888.436.0859
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West Virginia Seat Belt Laws & Car Accident Claims (Part B)

West Virginia uses a legal system called modified comparative negligence - 50% bar rule to determine negligence in an auto accident. This means that an injured party can only recover monetary damages if his or her fault in causing the injury is deemed to be less than 50%.

Under West Virginia seat belt laws, non-use of a seat belt is specifically prohibited from indicating negligence in your West Virginia car accident. Nor does non-use of a seat belt prove contributory or comparable negligence in your West Virginia car accident.

West Virginia Car Accident and Seat Belt Laws

Even though West Virginia uses the modified comparative negligence system, your Harrison County car accident lawyer will explain to you that non-use of your seat belt does not count toward self-negligence.

The seat belt code of law states that a violation is not admissible as evidence of self-negligence in any civil action proceeding for damages.

However, if it can be proven that you were not wearing your seat belt during your West Virginia car accident, you and your Harrison County car accident lawyer must still contend with the possibility of an "in camera hearing."

An in camera hearing is a procedure for claimants in a West Virginia car accident case to determine if the injured party was not wearing a seat belt, and whether that failure was a proximate cause of the injuries sustained.

In Camera Hearings

The seat belt in camera hearing provision is simply an effort on the state's part to promote safety through seat belt use. Handling the issue of non-use of a seat belt in your West Virginia car accident case can greatly benefit from the legal services of a well-qualified Harrison County car accident lawyer.

Your Harrison County car accident lawyer can also fully explain the implications of an in camera hearing upon the jurors, some of whom may be prejudiced by learning that you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your crash. As a result, your lawyer may offer to stipulate that you were not wearing a seat belt, regardless of whether non-use was a proximate cause to your injury.

During the trial of your West Virginia car accident case, once your Harrison County car accident lawyer stipulates non-use to the judge, an automatic 5% deduction of your award will be set aside. However, stipulation will prevent the jurors from learning of any accusation or evidence that you failed to wear your seat belt.

Contacting a Harrison County Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car accidents are a regular occurrence on West Virginia roadways such as I-79, I-77, Route 50, Route 33, and I-68. In fact, our state averages over 40,000 car crashes, over 400 deaths, and over 11,000 serious injuries each year. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a West Virginia car accident, order a FREE copy of our consumer guide, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim then contact the Harrison County car accident lawyer team at The Miley Legal Group for a FREE consultation - 304-326-1800 

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