West Virginia has enacted laws requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts. W. Va. Code § 17C-15-49. If you are injured in an accident but you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the collision, insurance companies and their defense lawyers will attempt to argue that you would not have been injured – either not at all or significantly less so – if you were properly buckled in. In making this argument, the defense seeks to prove that you were “comparatively negligent” in causing the injuries that were suffered during an accident. To use this defense, however, the other driver’s insurance company must prove that your unbuckled seatbelt contributed to, or was a cause of your injuries. In West Virginia, however, failure to wear a seat belt is not admissible as evidence of contributory negligence or comparative negligence in a civil action for damages. W. Va. Code § 17C-15-49.
Many cases arise where serious damages are suffered by an accident victim who is not wearing a seatbelt. In some of these cases, a person is ejected altogether from the vehicle. At Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., we seek every means available when appropriate to attempt to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligent driver, not from your own failure to wear a seatbelt. Working together with expert biomechanical engineers and accident reconstructionists, we are often able to demonstrate that serious injuries – and often worse injuries – would have occurred even if a seatbelt was worn at the time of an accident. Knowing who to contact and how to go about proving the cause of injury in these difficult cases enables us to make a difference for our clients in need of substantial compensation for serious injuries. Of course, you should always use your seat belt for safety reasons as well as legal ones.
In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Statute of Limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C. now at 888 – 298 – 2529. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.