Seatbelt Laws – Can I Claim Without Wearing One? | Middletons Solicitors
Seatbelt laws in the UK did not come into force until 1983, with regulations for children to wear seatbelts following in 1989 and finally seatbelts in the back seats in 1991.
It did take a while for many people to start regularly wearing seatbelts, but now it has become accepted as the norm for anyone getting into a motor vehicle. Most car manufacturers make their vehicles beep continuously when a seatbelt is not plugged in and the vehicle is moving, to ensure people are alerted to wear their belts.
Despite this, there are still some people who choose not to wear a seatbelt and there are actually exemptions for certain people too. If you are unlucky enough to have been injured in an accident whilst not wearing your seatbelt, you may still be able to make a claim for personal injury; however you may well receive a deduction in the amount of money you receive.
The law says you have contributed to your injuries by not wearing your seatbelt and this is known as Contributory Negligence. The result of your contributory negligence is that you are injured or your injuries are worse than they would have been if you had been wearing you seatbelt. All that remains is to decide how much of your compensation will be deducted as a result.
A case decided in 1975 called Froom v Butcher set the precedent for the law on deductions for not wearing a seatbelt and is still used today. This case says that if your injuries would not have happened if you had been wearing your seatbelt then you will receive a 25% deduction in damages. If your injuries were made worse by not wearing a seatbelt you will have a reduction of 10% and if a seatbelt had no effect on your injuries and they would have happened anyway, there will be no deduction at all.
A specialist solicitor will be able to use expert medical evidence to help decide what deduction, if any, to accept when making your claim for personal injury. It is important to have their expertise on your side, because without it, an insurer would probably persuade you to accept the full 25% deduction.
Therefore, if you have been injured in an accident which was someone else’s fault and you were not wearing a seatbelt, you should get advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our accident and injury claims services, please call Jenny McKellar in our Westbury office on 01373 865577, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).