Non-Use of Seat Belts and Car Accident Claims

In relation to a car accident, West Virginia's seat belt law states that failure to wear a seat belt during a car crash is not admissible as evidence of contributory or comparative negligence in a civil court proceeding.

This would be cut and dried, except that the code goes on to allow for a special "in camera" hearing upon motion of the defendant.

If granted, the in camera hearing would allow a judge to review evidence showing that you (the injured party) were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your West Virginia car crash, and that the failure to wear the seat belt was a proximate cause of your injuries.

If evidence supports these assertions, the judge may ask the jury to consider these facts and to determine it they constitute a failure by you, the plaintiff, to lessen your injuries from the collision.

If the jury finds that non-use of your seat belt did indeed cause some part of your injuries, an award reduction of up to 5% will be imposed.

Essentially, West Virginia seat belt laws do not allow failure to wear seat belts during car accidents to be admissible as negligence in civil court, up and until a defendant asks such failure to be considered.

To read a comprehensive review of West Virginia's seat belt laws, visit our article library. 

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 Clarksburg personal injury attorneys at The Miley Legal Group for a FREE consultation - 304-326-1800  

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